Daily Riches: The Ever-Present God in Your Ever-Present Loss (Frank Bianco)

“Had the truck come one minute sooner or later … had the drivers stopped for coffee … or skipped a break … the accident might never have happened. …As I began walking toward [the church], Tom called softly … ‘I’m sorry, old buddy. … Give God a chance. Listen. I think that’s what’s most important now. Just listen.’ God did not kill my son, I thought as I sat in the church. Then if there is a God, I asked, where did he fit in all of this? Something told me, ‘love.’ That was God’s most dominant characteristic, an all-encompassing, unqualified love….  If that was true, then God had to ‘feel’ the love I had for Michael. It had to be part of his experience. And he had to know my pain. … If he did, he had to feel as badly as any friend. At least that much. He had been as much a part of Michael’s creation as had Marie and I. He knew the joy that had been Michael. The pain had to cut him deeply. As deeply as it did me. He had to be grieving my – our – loss, sorrowing as Christ’s own mother must have sorrowed. All this was … pulling and then sweeping me along. The God I had reviled and rejected had been waiting to mourn with me, burdened with sorrow he would share with me. I felt so ashamed. I had been so wrong, for so long. Yet God had never given up on me. …Then, without warning, the experience of Michael’s death began to replay in my mind … surging up inside me, a mass of agony and pain, and I wanted to get up and run. But … I heard the words, ‘I know. I know. As you did, as you still do, I love him too. I know.’ I stayed put, weeping, as the pain poured out. But not alone. Not unconsoled. This time I wept in the arms of my God, whom I finally allowed to hold me….” Frank Bianco

“we know how dearly God loves us”
Romans 5:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you sense God grieving with you in your losses?
  • Can you “give him a chance” and let him show himself to you?
  • Can you let him just hold you?

Abba, why should I run from you when you’re only waiting to love me?

For More: Voices of Silence by Frank Bianco

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Summer Vacation Break

Hi everyone. I will be on vacation this week, so I won’t be sending out any Daily Riches from richerbyfar.com. As always, I really appreciate your interest in and support of the blog. Thanks for reading and sharing, and for your prayers!

While I’m away, don’t forget there are about 450 daily posts from the last 18 months. I’m sure there is something there you haven’t seen and that may encourage you as you seek after God and God seeks after you. (see below)

Bill

Daily Riches: Wisdom Through the Awful Grace of God (Simone Weil, David Benner, Pete Scazzero and Aeschylus)

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget

falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
Aeschylus

“Misfortunes leave wounds which bleed drop by drop even in sleep; thus little by little they train man by force and dispose him to wisdom in spite of himself. Man must learn to think of himself as a limited and dependent being; and only suffering teaches him this. …Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand. …Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him. …The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?’” Simone Weil

“Suffering can be a path to awakening when we engage it with receptivity to the gifts it holds rather than simply attempt to endure it. One of those gifts is that suffering has unique capacity to help us soften and release attachments and move toward a life of non-attachment. Simone Weil said that suffering that does not detach us is wasted suffering. Don’t waste suffering. It’s always a shame to have to repeat lessons because we don’t get their point but suffering is a particularly bad lesson to be slow to get.” David Benner

“The sad reality is that most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are is unbearable.”  Pete Scazzero

“Do not be like a senseless horse or mule    
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Psalm 32:9

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you come to see yourself as “a limited and dependent being?”
  • Do you work to “place yourself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them?” …to suffer with them? If not, why not, since understanding them must necessarily precede loving them well?
  • Are you waiting to make some change God wants until things become “unbearable?” Are you at risk of needing to “repeat” difficult lessons that the “awful grace of God” has been trying to teach you?

Abba, help me to heed the lessons of your sometimes awful grace.

For More: Spirituality and the Awakened Self by David Benner

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thank you for following and sharing my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Religion and the Status Quo (Walter Brueggemann and Krista Tippett)

“… at least one third of the book of Psalms are songs or prayers of sadness and loss and grief and upset, so that very much Old Testament experience of faith is having stuff taken away from us, and what’s so interesting is that in the institutional church with the lectionary and liturgies the whole business of lamentations has been screened out [‘because we don’t know what to do with those depressing passages’*] …because [with] consumer capitalism you just go from triumph to triumph, from well-being to ease to prosperity, and you never have any brokenness.” Walter Brueggemann, with *Krista Tippet

“Faith that permits [lamentation] …redresses the distribution of power between the two parties, so that the petitionary party is taken seriously and the God who is addressed is newly engaged in the crisis in a way that puts God at risk. As the lesser, petitionary party (the psalm speaker) is legitimated, so the unmitigated supremacy of the greater party (God) is questioned, and God is made available to the petitioner. [cf. Job] The basis for the conclusion that the petitioner is taken seriously and legitimately granted power in the relation is that the speech of the petitioner is heard, valued, and transmitted as serious speech. …What happens when appreciation of the lament as a form of speech and faith is lost, as I think it is largely lost in contemporary usage? What happens when the speech forms that redress power distribution have been silenced and eliminated? The answer, I believe, is that a theological monopoly is reinforced, docility and submissiveness are engendered, and the outcome in terms of social practice is to reinforce and consolidate the political-economic monopoly of the status quo.” Brueggemann

“Teach your daughters to wail;
teach one another how to lament.”
Jeremiah 9:20

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have “sadness, loss, grief and upset” been screened out of your church experience? your conversations? your prayers?
  • Is your faith characterized by “docility and submissiveness?” Is that good?
  • Does your religion, church or faith help perpetuate the “monopoly of the status quo?”
  • Who stands to benefit if your faith causes you to support the status quo? Who stands to lose?

Abba, I cry our for help, but no one hears me. I protest, but there is no justice. You have plunged my path into darkness.

For More:  The Psalms: The Life of Faith, ed. Patrick Miller

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

 

Daily Riches: Grieving and the Vast Emptiness of Loss (James Baldwin, C. S. Lewis, Richard Rohr, John Green, Henri Nouwen)

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” James Baldwin

“For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats.  …how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, ‘I never realized my loss till this moment’? The same leg is cut off time after time.” C. S. Lewis

“‘All great thought springs from a conflict between two eventual insights: (1) The wound which we find at the heart of everything is finally incurable, (2) Yet we are necessarily and still driven to try!’ [Hans Urs von Balthasar] Selah. Our largely unsuccessful efforts of the first half of life are themselves the training ground for all virtue and growth in holiness. This wound at the heart of life shows itself in many ways, but your holding and “suffering” of this tragic wound, your persistent but failed attempts to heal it, and your final surrender to it, will ironically make you into a wise and holy person. It will make you patient, loving, hopeful, expansive, faithful, and compassionate—which is precisely second-half-of-life wisdom.” Richard Rohr

“We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.” John Green

“Just as bread needs to be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives.”  Henri Nouwen

“… unless a grain of wheat
falls into the earth and dies,
it remains alone; but if it dies,
it bears much fruit.”
Jesus in John 12:24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Our sense of loss grows over time as we experience a loss “time after time.” Have you suffered like that?
  • Have you quit trying to understand your loss, heal it – or find its “silver lining?” Have you allowed yourself to feel it rather than flee from it?
  • Why might someone “need to be broken” by what feels like “unprecedented” heartbreak? Can you trust God to work in the space created by your loss – with no explanation and slow healing – but bringing life out of death?

Abba, meet me in my losses.

For More:  A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”