Through a Season of Grief Where Is the Hope?

Editor’s note: Jesus didn’t tell us that we might have trouble, could go through heartbreak, and should be shocked if we ever surprisingly endure sudden loss and bereavement. He told us that in this world we will have trouble. Because of that, even as Christians, we experience grief and sadness. If you’re there today, you are not alone. Jesus is with you. We pray that this excerpt from Through a Season of Grief gives you comfort and hope.

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Grief Runs Deep: Where Is the Hope?

Dr. Joseph Stowell says, “Even though your heart is breaking and tears are clouding your eyes and staining your cheeks, God does give us something worth trusting in tough times. And that’s Him, and Him alone.”

When your heart is breaking, you can place your hope and trust in the Lord.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. — Psalm 31:24

Anne Graham Lotz defines hope: “Biblical hope is absolute confidence in something you haven’t seen or received yet, but you’re absolutely confident that whatever God has said is going to come to pass.”

She also declares that “Jesus is your hope for the future. One day Jesus Christ will come back, and He will set all of the wrong right. Good will triumph over the bad. Love will triumph over hate. Righteousness will triumph over evil. He’s going to make it all right, and you can have absolute confidence that that’s going to take place. That’s your hope.”

Sovereign God, I choose hope. I choose faith. I choose life. Give me an unshakable faith in You. Amen.

Grief Lasts Longer Than Expected

Grief’s unexpected turns will throw you again and again. You may feel that for every step forward, you take at least one step back. The grieving process generally takes longer than you ever imagined.

Please don’t rush this process. Remember, what you are feeling is not only normal, it is necessary.

“It’s been seven years, and I’m still going through it,” says Dr. Larry Crabb, whose brother died in a plane crash. “I don’t know if it’s a very holy thing to admit, but when someone says, ‘Well, it’s been a week, a month, a year — Larry, for you it’s been seven years. Get a grip. Where’s your faith in Christ, for goodness’ sake?’ I get really angry.

“Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to Heaven, there’s going to be an ache that won’t quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain.”

We read in the Psalms that David grew weary with the process of grief and cried out to the Lord. Then he left the timing in God’s hands.

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love. — Psalm 6:2-4

I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief. — Psalm 6:6-7 NASB

Heavenly God, I cannot even begin to put my grief in a time frame. Thank you that I don’t have to. Comfort me and support me as I lean on You. Amen.

He Will Carry You

The Lord will carry you if you ask Him. When you are feeling so weak you cannot take another step, ask Him to lift you high into His loving arms. Then rest in Him with an open and listening heart. This does not mean your problems will disappear, but it does mean you will have Someone to share them with.

“If you are someone who does not know Jesus Christ as your Savior and you have just been widowed or bereaved, you have a tremendous burden,” says Elisabeth Elliot. “You are tired, and it is too big a burden to carry. The Lord says,

Come to Me, you who are tired and overburdened, and I will give you rest.

To receive peace and rest in Christ, the instructions are clear. Jesus says, “Come to me.” You must first approach Him and then talk to Him and quietly listen.

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. — Psalm 61:1-3

Lord, I come to You. My heart is worn out, and I need You. Take my heavy burden today. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Through a Season of Grief by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard, copyright The Church Initiative, Inc.

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Your Turn

In this broken world, there’s no way to avoid times of grief, sometimes even very long seasons of grief. We’ve got troubles! Today, let’s renew our choices to place our hope and trust in Jesus Christ who walks alongside us through ever valley of the shadow of death and counts our every tear because His compassion is that great. Come share your thoughts and prayers with us. We would love to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

Kathy Leonard

Kathy Leonard is editorial director for The Church Initiative and the coauthor of several books including Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy, Grieving with Hope, and Divorce Care: Hope, Help, and Healing During and After Your Divorce. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Maryland Asian Division in Okinawa, Japan, Kathy moved with her Air Force husband, Tim, to England. They now live in Virginia with their three children.

Bill Dunn

Bill Dunn is vice president of Church Initiative, Inc. He graduated from Asbury College and received a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1982. During the next fifteen years he served in two pastorates. As a pastor, Bill has had many opportunities to minister to people in grief and observe its extended influence in the lives of family and close friends. Bill's wife, Holly, is an emergency room physician and has seen the process of grief through that lens. Together they co-host the GriefShare video series used in thousands of churches across the United States and beyond.

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