Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Peace in the Face of Loss

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Couresy Of: Ian Taylor

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~Psalm 34:18

The past couple weeks, we have been looking together at the topic of peace in the midst of hard times. Today we are looking at the concept of peace for those currently battling the heart-wrenching grief of loss, whether a recent loss or one in the past which still aches to this day. Sadly, loss is a reality for all of us at one time or another, running the gamut from loss of sleep during the newborn stage or a financial loss, to loss of a loved one or loss of a lifelong dream. 

Whatever it is, it’s hard. And while some would certainly categorize the loss of a loved one as being harder than the loss of sleep as a new mom, I’m not interested in doing that today. The practice of comparing yourself to others and trying to judge who has the harder lot in life is unhelpful. Each person’s hard season is just that - a hard season. 

If you are experiencing a loss in this season, whether the loss of a dream or expectation for what  your life would look like for your family at this stage or the loss of an actual member of your family, first let me say I’m sorry. If there is one thing I have learned during our own family’s various seasons of loss, it is that anytime you or someone you know is experiencing a loss, you have to take the time (or give the other person the time!) to grieve. It is not enough to slap Romans 8:28 like a bandaid on the situation as if there isn’t real pain to be dealt with first. 

If Christ is to be our ultimate example for life (and He is!), then what I have been learning from Him here recently is that while it is true that the Lord does bring good out of all things that happen in the lives of His children, He never expects us to make ourselves “get over” whatever we are grieving just because it will all be okay in the end. Instead, He enters into our pain with us, emphasizing the importance of giving time to the grieving process that must come first in order for there to be any healing that will take place. 

One of the most beautiful examples I can think of in relation to Christ’s heart for His people in their pain is the story of how Jesus interacted with sisters Mary and Martha following the death of their beloved brother, Lazarus. As Jesus enters the town where Mary and Martha live, He witnesses their mourning for their departed brother. And, in the shortest verse in the entire Bible, John 11:35, we read: “Jesus wept.” Even though Christ knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead and all would soon be well, He didn’t rush into healing Lazarus without first grieving over Mary and Martha’s loss. He wept. The God of the universe, the One who was about to bring joy back to the faces of these two grieving sisters, first Himself grieved the loss of Lazarus. That shortest verse of the Bible is an incredibly profound verse, is it not?

What I want you to know today, friend, is that whether you are grieving the loss of a beloved dream or the loss of a loved one, know this: Your God enters into your pain and spends time in it there with you. He never asks you to put on a brave face, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, look on the bright side, or just get over it when you are facing a loss. He always first enters into your pain and suffering, grieving and suffering right along with you. Even if those in your circles are not comforting and empathizing with you as they ought to in this season, know that you always have the Lord Jesus willing and ready to do that very thing for you whenever you need Him, providing you with the surpassing peace which comes with knowing your cries are heard and understood.

The day will come when He has healed you of your pain and suffering - when the new morning dawns and you find that your season isn’t as painful as it once was. But until you get to that point, rest in the fact that you are safe in the loving, sympathizing, caressing arms of God. He sees your pain, He sees you, and He weeps, too. 

"God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." ~Revelation 21:4

Reflection Questions:

1) What loss have you recently walked through or are walking through right now?

2) How has the Lord met you there in it and been a comfort to you?

3) How will you be able to take this comfort you have been given and use it to comfort others in their own seasons of loss?

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