|When It's Time
© Ferna Lary Mills
As all of America grieves, I also grieve for those who have lost their family, homes, and
communities as a result of Hurricane Katrina. It broke my heart seeing the horrors so
many people endured as they suffered from things I can't imagine even in my worst
nightmares. I can not imagine the terror. I can not imagine the devastation. But, I can to
some degree imagine the pain and anguish of being forced to wait.
Their loss was great. Their circumstances were dire. They waited for what seemed an
insurmountable time for even basic necessities, traumatized by their immediate crisis
as well as the unknown fear of what was still yet to come. They waited for rescue
crying, "We want out!"
They stood in line waiting for that hand that would lift them out of their torment. They
were waiting for a savior to take them to a place where their needs would be met,
where their heart would be comforted, to a place where they would be safe once again.
Waiting is hard. It's doubly hard when you witness so many others going ahead of you.
There were children separated from parents, parents separated from their own
parents, and friends separated from friends. They watched some of their loved ones
die, watched others leave on a bus; some were missing, yet they remained behind not
knowing, and waiting. They didn't know where their loved ones had gone, or when (or
if) they would ever be reunited. Their hands were tied and all they could do was wring
them and cry and wait, until it was their turn to go.
That's a horrific predicament. One I hope no one has to ever endure again. As I think
on all of this, it occurs to me that although not that horrific, living with grief has some
We're stuck here on this big round planet ~ waiting. We've been left behind, waiting our
turn to go to that "safe place". Living with our grief is sometimes simply unbearable.
Our anguished soul cries for relief. Where is our place of refuge where our heart will be
healed, where we will no longer suffer this unbearable loss? When will it be our time?
When will the hand of our Savior reach out and take us home?
In the anguish of my own grief, I have wanted to paint letters on my rooftop to signal
how bad I wanted out. I begged Him to take me "home" so I could be with my loved
ones again. But He said, "Wait."
Many of my loved ones are gone. As a Christian, I know where they are, but I still yearn
for the time to come when I can be reunited with them again. In the meantime, I'm still
waiting. It's not my turn. I know there is a purpose to my still being here, so instead of
wringing my hands, I place them together in prayer and ask Him to show me that
First, He tells me that I am not left here to endure my grief alone. Not only does He
promise to never leave us or forsake us, He also promises to hear our cries and
answer our prayers. We don't have to go through this alone.
Second, we are not alone in our misery. It takes but a moment to look around and find
someone else suffering so much worse. Katrina showed us that. In New Orleans, as
they waited and as I could only watch it unfold on the news, I saw someone help a
weary mother carry her two small babies, and another helped a weak, elderly woman
by giving her a drink of water. Others fanned the fainted and hugged the faint of heart.
Because we are not alone, we can help one another. In fact, it's our responsibility.
Jesus said, "comfort one another ... encourage one another ... love one another ... ",
and I believe that is the main reason we are still here, no matter what trials we are
going through. One day our time will come, but for now there is much to do.
There is a time to grieve, and when our grief is so intense it is all consuming. But, as
Christians, we do not have the right to sit and weep forever. There is also a time that
we must rise to meet the task at hand. You will know when you are ready for that
"time". There is a reason we are still allowed to make footprints on the dust of this
There is a time to stop looking backwards or inwards, counting all of our own losses
instead of our many blessings. There is a time to dry our eyes so we can focus on the
needs of others. I promise, there is someone, somewhere, not far from where you are
right now, that needs something you can provide, even if all you have left is a hug.
When it's finally time for you to go home, you won't miss the bus just because you were
busy helping others or taking the time to be kind. The Lord himself will hold that door
open for you and proclaim with a smile, "Well done, Thou good and faithful servant!"
May God bless you and comfort you and give you Peace. ~Ferna
|A Christian Grief Ministry