Hope in the Grieving
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Why God? Where were you? Why didn’t you come?
Ever screamed these words at God? I know I have! I yelled at God when Debbie drew her last breath. Debbie was my big sister, but she lost her fight with life at the age of 35. I was just 23 with too many questions and not nearly enough answers!
Where was God? Why didn’t he heal her? Why didn’t He rescue her?
In my many questions, my perspective of God’s goodness became a tad tainted. I began to believe the lie that God wasn’t good and that He had failed both me and my sister.
Jesus encourages us to bring our burdens to him (Matthew 11:28-30). This includes our questions and our angered frustrations. He Himself was a man of sorrows; acquainted with many griefs. As I walked through this shadowing valley, I came to realize that God understood my thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. He once watched His own Son walk this path, and He also saw a bigger picture for Him and for me. It was not the immediate moment that impelled Jesus to walk to the cross, but rather the joy that was set before Him; a future perspective that meant He could endure the pain at Calvary.
That joy was you, me, and my sister Debbie at the other side of the Cross; a secured eternity with Him for each of us; a hope of what was to come.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (NIV).
Please understand, nothing about burying my sister was light and momentary, but this truth renewed my hope.
Outwardly Debbie really was wasting away, but when Jesus released her from her torment and suffering, she was instantly and inwardly renewed in a place where every tear was wiped from her eyes; a place where there was no more death or mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Years later, this was the hope that flooded my own heart and soul; the assurance that one day I would see her again!
Yes, God could have healed my sister and restored her my way, but He didn’t; and now she is wholly and completely free! My best hope for her could never have achieved this, but God’s hope at work did. Living hope in this devastating situation not only paved the way for her rescue but also my salvation. It played a part in a greater plan that set us both free.
The presence of God is not the absence of heartache and struggle; but if we allow the living hope of Christ to anchor our broken hearts and wounded souls, we can live in complete assurance that any physical end is not an eternal one!
Through any valley that we should walk, be encouraged that Jesus has gone ahead. His rod and His staff will comfort us (Psalm 23).
But how? How can two pieces of ancient wood bring any comfort in a time of anguish?
Well ... two pieces of wood once stood on a hill at the top of another valley so that you and I could pass from death to life. The Cross of Jesus Christ will never lose its power, even in the midst of grief or loss. It is through the Cross that hope was made manifest. Through Jesus, we can know God’s eternal comfort and peace; a living hope in the face of death and a light in the darkest of times.
Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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