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The following is an excerpt from my journal 7 months after our son Billy died of SIDS. We had sold our home in Colorado, relocated to Texas in a temporary corporate apartment, boarded our cats, and were trying to figure out what to do next with our life.
October 30, 2008 -- Wow. What an amazing devotional I read today. It’s from L.B. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert, a devotional collection that has ministered to me several times over since I received it in college. This entry is from George Matheson. I’ve never thought about Hebrews 12:1, “Let us run with patience,” in this particular way.
Matheson says the word “running” suggests the absence of patience and an “eagerness to reach the goal.” But we consider patience to be associated with standing still.
Patience that runs is harder to obtain, Matheson contends. Lying down or being quiet during our grief certainly requires strength, but “the power to run with a heavy heart”? “The power to perform your daily tasks with deep sorrow in your spirit”? (408-409) Only by the grace and power of God.
He continues...”We are called upon to bury our sorrows not in restful inactivity but in active service--in our workplace, while shopping, and during social events--contributing to other people’s joy. No other way of burying our sorrow is as difficult as this, for it is truly what is meant by running ‘with patience’” (409).
This is definitely how I’ve felt as I’ve tried to create a “new normal” for our family and move forward the past several months. Getting out of bed and taking care of our daughter Avery requires “running with patience.” So does living in 800 sq. feet without my son, my cats, or most of my belongings. So does accomplishing daily necessary tasks. So does visiting with other people and being excited for others’ babies’ milestones when I know I’ll never see Billy reach his (at least here on Earth). Contributing to other people’s joy when mine has been torn away is hard! I must purpose to run with patience when Bill and I struggle in our marriage and our own individual ways of dealing with our grief. As I “run,” much of my circumstances often still look so despairing. So I run with faith, believing that God WILL follow with His goodness, mercy, and faithfulness in perfect timing. Patience as I run. Knowing that although things still often don’t look or feel good now, they will again.