Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Strength in the the middle of Grief - Psalm 119.28

I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word. 119.28

Grief is one of the universal emotions that none of us can escape from.  Sooner or later someone we know will pass away.  They may die quietly in their sleep, or they may die in agony fighting for their last breath.  No matter how our loved ones leave us, whether we are there or absent, whether we feel ‘ready’ or not, we all experience grief.  Some people express grief in different ways to others.

My Grandmother wanted the house largely redecorating, made the spare room her bedroom, and removed most of my Grandfather’s belongings.  For her it is currently too painful to see the remnants of their long marriage; those physical shards of memory which cut like a broken mirror.  Many others try to keep everything of their loved onethe house never changes, the chair stays but is never sat in, the bed keeps the same mattress, and the pictures stay up as windows through which memories can hurtle back towards happier times.  I know personally just how long lasting the pain from the loss of a loved one can be. The death of my Great Aunt when I was about 14 so devastated me it left emotional and spiritual scars which not only made me who I am but still sometimes flare up painfully.

This grief we feel at the loss of a loved one is hard.  The shortest verse in the BIble is simply ‘Jesus wept’ (John 11.35) and it depicts the very real grief Jesus felt at knowing His friend Lazarus was dead.   Of course, Jesus then raised Lazarus back to life and thereby showed the world that He is Lord of Life and the ever-reigning King of the Resurrection.  It is because of this, because of Jesus, that Christians can find strength in the Bible when we experience grief.  

When our loved ones believed in Jesus as Lord, God, and Saviour, we can rest in the confidence that they are now with Him and know of no pain or suffering or brokenness.  We can rest in the confidence that they know what true joy is and true fulfilment.  This is why the funerals of departed saints are not times to be marked by sorrow but rather rejoicing that they have gone to be with their Lord. There is real strength to be found in the promises of God for those who grieve.

Yet this strength we find in the promises of new and eternal life in the age to come is also the very thing which must strengthen our resolve to tell everyone we know about Jesus.  The Bible could not be clearer that only those who believe in Jesus will be found with Him at the resurrection—everyone else will be told by Jesus “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! … and they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25.41, 46).  

Knowing the Good News of Salvation for those who believe should give us the strength and passion and resolve we need to tell the world about Jesus. Thinking on this dual theme, why not make a commitment to tell a friend or family member about what Jesus has done for you at a time when you were weary in your grief?

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