Over the course of my books, I put my characters in some difficult spots. That’s good for the plot and good for the readers. However, then I have to come along and put some wise resolution for that character to discover, drawn on or hear from someone else to get them out of that pickle. I strive for a fresh insight, for practical wisdom, something useful not just holy-sounding. This is where the writing gets very humbling because this is where God takes over.
In one situation, I had a character go back to Job. (I just finished reading Job, so it’s fresh in my mind.) The character said although the Lord restored all that Job had, God never took the pain of the loss away. Yesterday, it also occurred to me that the restoration took years. Job didn’t wake up the next morning *poof* with his seven new sons and three new daughters.
So here are two principles about pain or loss (I wish I’d thought of them, but they’re God’s)- Pain fades to the point where it doesn’t consume our lives, but it doesn’t necessarily ever go away. At least not in this life. Sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves or others about how and when we should be ‘over’ something. Each situation is unique and intensely personal. Grant yourself (or someone else) the grace to walk through it rather than add the pressure of ‘should’. Truth is, God may doing things through the loss that we are completely unaware of- as was Job’s case. Job never knew the full story behind all his suffering.
Second, restoration takes time and it may mean traveling over some ground we’ve already covered. Job had done diapers and toddlers and loose teeth and adolescence with his kids, but he had to go through it all again. In the end, it’s worth it. The last chapter of Job says, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning.”
Pain, suffering and sorrow are a fact of life, but thank God through Jesus Christ, they are only a fact of THIS life. (John 16:33)