I hated being pregnant. I was not one of those woman who glow – oh no! A better description of me would be; I grumped my way through pregnancy. I had terrible morning sickness with them all and then for the remaining months every part of my body seemed to hurt and I was so ridiculously tired a late night was 8:30pm. In my opinion pregnancy pretty much sucked (I know you are all thinking, “why on earth did she do it four times then?!”) There was however one part of the pregnancy months I did enjoy – the chance to choose my baby’s name. I loved finding names, sounding them out, adding middle names and even changing my mind.
Our name is so much part of our identity. It’s how people know us and call us. Our name is something very special to who we uniquely are.
I love the story of Zacchaeus in the bible found in Luke 19:1-9. Zacchaeus was a very influential and apparently very short man. The bible doesn’t specify how short but when he was standing in a crowd he couldn’t see a thing.
Zacchaeus desperately wanted to see Jesus – just see him. He must have heard a lot about this man called Jesus and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So one day he joined the crowd in the street who had all come out because Jesus was in town. I imagine the scene something like Queen Street in Auckland at the Christmas parade – too many people to possibly move with ease and often you are on your tip toes swaying one side to the other trying to see over the people in front with little success.
Zacchaeus too was stuck behind a whole bunch of people and unable to see a thing. But undeterred the bible says “he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree.”
How many influential men do you know that would climb a tree to have a look at someone let alone run to do it, in his curiosity he threw aside all inhibitions and pretense and did exactly that, run and climb a tree – just so he could see this Jesus.
As Jesus walked by he stopped at the tree, “looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name, “Zacchaeus!”
CALLED HIM BY NAME!
Astonishing! Of all the people Jesus could have noticed that day, he noticed the man up a tree. But not only did he notice him – he called him by name.
It’s the same with you. Jesus notices you and he knows your name. He is calling you.
He is calling you to come to know him better.
He is calling you and saying, “I love you!”
He is calling you and saying, “Let me have your life and watch what amazing things I will do.”
He is calling you to give all your worries to him.
He is calling you by name because he knows your name.
You are not a faceless being in a crowd of millions. You are known, you are loved and you are called by the King of Kings, and Saviour of the world – Jesus.
My 40 hour a week job is a receptionist at a medical centre. It is not in the rich area of town but rather in the middle of the poor in our community. I am honoured to be part of their lives and often this part is during a rough period as 95% of the time people come to see us when they are sick.
In my role I get to meet all of our patients, I get to know them and their families and I get to see how unique and special each person is.
So when one of these precious people is diagnosed with something terminal or a death suddenly happens, I get to be part of the grieving journey with this person and/or their family and friends.
Having experienced grief first hand through Mark’s ten year illness and then with his death I know a little of what each person is having to endure. I watch the shock, hug them through the tears, pray for them but mostly I wish.
That probably sounds like a funny thing to say as a Christian, like I believe in magic or something but that is not what I mean.
What I mean is; I wish that person, their family and their friends did not have to go through this. I have lived it and I know how revolting grief is. It literally breaks your heart, it gives you physical pain, your brain stops functioning, you no longer have control of your emotions, you are irrational, moody and can be aggressive. You become demanding and withdrawn at the same time. Life looks grey, all colour has lost its brightness and hope wanes. Some lose sleep, for me all I wanted to do was sleep. Some don’t eat and others eat for comfort. You constantly want what you can’t have and the majority of the time that ‘want’ is to go back in time – A time before illness and death invaded your life.
But there are no time machines, there is only forward and forward means having to keep living when actually you don’t really want too.
That is what I wish.
But I know that that person and the people involved in that person’s life have to deal with the grief. It is going to become part of who they are, it is going to mould them and if they let it, it will mould them for good.
Good. How can something so horrific like grief bring good?
In the bible it says,
I don’t know how God does it but truly if we let him he does eventually use all grief for good. How do I know this?
Because the proof of it is in me and my four beautiful amazing daughters. We are rising again out of the ashes of grief. We are facing the world and we are saying we want to make a difference in people’s lives, we want to love like Jesus, and we want to be part of God’s solution to a hurting world. We have endured heartache head on and through God’s love and God’s love alone we have survived and we are ready to be used by God.
Only the grief we endured could make us the people we are today. Only the heartbreak we carried could make us into the compassionate people we have become. And only by experiencing God heal us could we then with absolute conviction offer this same healing to others.
I wish no one had to face grief but I know that if people let God in and allow him to have control, he can turn that grief into something amazing to live for!
Let God have your grief today and then watch what he will do with that grief and with you – I promise you it will be remarkable!