Brave Grief

Grief. We’ve all felt it.

And no matter what the reason, it can be tempting to believe that this is the worst we’ll ever feel.

Yesterday was my oldest son’s 14th birthday.

And while I was so happy and thankful to be celebrating this boy who struggled so much in his first few days of life, I couldn’t shake the nagging desire to sit in a corner in cry.

This was his first birthday without his dad.

And as most mothers do, as I thought back on the day he was born, I was overwhelmed thinking about a time when life seemed to hold so many promises. And I never would have expected those first days to bring us here.

In those moments, we can find ourselves feeling slighted. Feeling the unfairness of life. Asking questions that never bring answers.

And in all those unknowns we can began to wonder how much we really know about God.

Just a few weeks ago, the people in my home state watched the story unfold of a three-year old girl who was missing. As the days passed, people shared photos and prayers across social media hoping that this story would have a happy ending.

It didn’t. Her body was found, and we mourned.

But you don’t have to watch the news to see devastation. Most of us can look around our own homes, families or even in the mirror.

And we wonder why. Why do these horrible things happen to children, happen to us?

Job asked those questions too.

He lost everything. His children, his belongings, his health.

And he cried out. Longing for understanding or death.

I get it. Maybe you do too.

His well-meaning friends came to comfort him. But their words only brought more pain. For Job and themselves.

They wagged their tongues tirelessly trying to fit God into a box that they could understand.

I get that too.

It can seem that faith and grief are like oil and water. They’re impossible to mix.

But the truth is grief is the very time we need so desperately to add a hefty dose of faith.

Jesus said, “The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” (John 16:33 The Good News translation)

Brave.

Grief doesn’t make us feel brave, does it?

It makes us feel weak. It makes us feel lost. It makes us feel scared.

But can we really be called brave in situations that don’t cause us to pause, or even to stop dead in our tracks. That don’t make us question for at least a moment all we’ve held to.

Bravery and faith must go together. I’m not sure you can have one without the other.

Bravery is the action that flows out of the faith.

Bravery is faith. Bravery is confidence.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

We’re offered grace and mercy in our times of need, in our grief, because it’s exactly what we need.

God doesn’t expect for us to be hard-hearted. To hear devastating news or experience hard situations and to simply shrug it off. “Oh well, that’s just life.”

He knows we’ll have questions and tears and fears and doubts.

And He gives what we need in those times.

Faith and bravery in the face of grief is hard.

But instead of falling down in despair, they fall down in worship.

It’s an echo of Job’s words.

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.” -Job 42:1

Faith and bravery say that Yes! God has a plan. And it’s good. Even if it doesn’t look good right now.

They believe that God is good even when they don’t feel it.And if He has allowed such heartache to touch our lives, He can also bring joy.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelations 21:4

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. – Psalm 56:8

He sees our tears. He hears our cries. And He keeps a record of them.

I’m not sure there are many words that bring comfort in the midst of grief. We want answers and relief now and nothing we can say will bring either.

But what does bring comfort is understanding that we don’t have to understand. That maybe we don’t even have to like it.

That’s God is perfectly able and willing to stand with us in our grief. He is patient as we cry and wail. He never tires. He never wears out.

And nothing can separate us from His great love.

And that while we only see parts of the puzzle, we only see pieces of the picture, He is working something out that is beyond our imagination.

That our grief is brought as part of the sin of this world but He is oh so merciful to still offer us peace in the midst of it.

Today as we face the hardships and despair of this fallen world, may we recognize His voice calling to us in the storm.

May we run to Him in those times. Finding comfort and peace that only He can give.

We don’t have to be afraid of our grief. We don’t have to hide it. But we don’t have to let it isolate us from Him either.

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence. And His children will have refuge. – Proverbs 14:26

The hard blow to our pride is that we must seek Him more than our own comfort or our own understanding. When we allow God to take His rightful place in our lives and hearts, we find faith and bravery. And we find refuge.

While it’s tempting to run from God in times of trouble, we must run TO Him.

Trusting Him with things that are far above our thoughts or ways. Trusting that He is doing a good work. Trusting Him that we will one day understand but today may not be that day.

He loves us so fiercely. He stands ready to offer us shelter and rest.

Let’s allow ourselves to grieve not hidden and afraid, but in His presence. Receiving Him, the greatest comfort of all.

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