I woke up this morning and was reminded by the many posts on social media from family that it had been exactly two years since my nephew passed away. A handsome young man with a bright future and a family who loved him, was now gone. Looking at pictures being shared of him immediately brought me back to that moment I first heard the news. I could feel the lump in my throat begin to grow and my eyes quickly filled with tears. I could visualize my brother’s face. It had a look of anguish that words alone could never properly articulate as he struggled to accept the loss of his son. A look I wish I could forget; a moment I wish he never had to experience.
The sense of loss we experience when we lose someone we love aches from the very depths of our soul. This pain will cause us to see the world with a completely new set of eyes. Eyes we never asked for, eyes we never wanted, but eyes we now have. These eyes now can somehow see deeper into the soul of others, giving us more compassion and the ability to feel and know the pain of another.
Great loss and profound grief is not limited to death, but comes in many other forms as we experience life. Death is absolutely the most final and comes with much devastation but it is not the only source in which compassion is born and comfort is needed. The pain and disappointment from the end of a marriage can bring the strongest of women to their knees. Having to endure an illness that won’t seem to relent and the daily fight to remain positive can chip away and leave you feeling like you have nothing left to give. The child you love with all your heart and have raised to know the grace and mercy of God becomes a prodigal and causes you to doubt every moment of motherhood. The list could go on and on. No matter the cause of the grief the pain is still ever present. The ache is deep and our need for comfort is overwhelming. I have found that where I choose to receive my comfort in those times changes me forever.
God has given me several godly women in my life who have encouraged me in times of sadness. I am incredibly thankful for those women and consider them a gift. But in my darkest moments I realize my deepest need to be comforted can only be fulfilled by Christ and Christ alone.
The promises of God are my constant reminders that I am known and loved by my Father in heaven. His Word comforts my soul and heals the gaping wounds of my heart. His Word breathes life into me. In those moments, I need to hear Him speak “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10. You see, this is my God! His power has no limits and His love has no bounds. His hand reaches into the depths of my soul and gives me His supernatural peace that surpasses all understanding. I believe that God’s righteous hand will uphold me. Why do I believe? Because He says so and because His promises are truth!
The world will offer me comfort through ways that will never sustain me. Ways that will never bring peace. Often times people will try to avoid feeling the pain by distracting themselves with things that cause them to busy their mind and escape having to search their heart. These diversions can take many forms, some of which seem harmless such as shopping, relationships or even a career. Others can be far more devastating like alcohol and drug use. These things break God’s heart and will never bring peace to their souls and will lead to more hurt.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
We need to remember God’s example of comfort is our model to help us understand how we are to comfort those in need. His love for us and His ability to ease our pain when we cry out to Him is a precious gift. A gift He desires us not only to accept but to give to others.
We are not promised a life without sorrow. In fact, the exact opposite is true. James 1:2 reminds us to count it all joy because we will fall into various trials. We will experience times of overwhelming grief. How will we respond? The choice is ours.
By: Gloria Scholten