Pictures tell stories. We like the one with smiling people who look like they're having fun! But once in a while we come across pictures of a lost friend or loved one or a home where we once lived.
What “snapshots” remind you of recent hardships you have endured? And how do they make you feel?
There can be many responses to grief and loss. Three of the most common ones are anger, sadness, or numbness. Anger can take many forms, such as anger toward yourself, a friend, your spouse, your neighbor, or your church. Often I tend to run from my grief by numbing it with busyness or entertainment. Whatever the response, it is really a cry for help. It’s our best attempt to deal with our inward pain.
Isaiah presents us with a “portrait” of someone who knows and understands our grief and loss. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (53:4). Our Lord Jesus, in his role as substitute, carries not only the weight of our sins but also the gravity of our grief and sorrow. There is no loss that he hasn’t already carried.
David depicts another picture of our Lord. “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head” (Psalm 139:5 NLT). Imagine another snapshot of the Lord, this time with his gentle hand on you as you grieve your losses. This is hard to do. Personally, my gut protests in disbelief. But the radiant truth behind this “portrait” is that we are not abandoned in our challenges. God is nearer than we dare hope or believe, even in our darkest moments.
Now, place these pictures side by side: your snapshots of losses in one hand and portraits of our Savior together. In your anger or escape, know that the Lord is strong enough to carry your grief. Know that his love is enduring enough to stick with you. You are not abandoned, but his hand of blessing will stay with you.
The grace of God’s enduring presence and blessing diffuses anger of its explosive power and tempers the gnawing need to escape. Letting ourselves feel our grief and loss is difficult, but this is where we will find the Lord. When we do, we feel his strength.
May these truths lead us to trust our good God more deeply. Let’s take a collective deep breath, let it out, and talk with God about the grief and loss that he carries so well.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you bear my griefs and carry my sorrows. Thank you that your compassionate hand is upon me for good. I know I am not alone. Fill me with a love for your word, and let me pray often in my grief. In your name I pray, Amen.
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