It’s been one of those difficult days.
After a rough, interrupted night last night, I spent most of today in bed. Hiding, sleeping off and on, reading and fighting for joy. Praying for peace for the turmoil. My soul has been grieved. It’s not been a good day.
But this evening I’ve been reading more in Tim Keller’s book “Walking With God through Pain and Suffering.” I wrote about the book in my previous post. Excellent book.
Tim Keller shares a verse and an explanation of that verse that has been balm to my soul this evening. It’s found in 1st Thessalonians 4:13:
The verse is speaking of those that the readers have loved who have died. It’s a prelude to a teaching on Jesus’ coming again. But there is a phrase that is often overlooked:
“that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”
I’ve read this verse before, but have never seen it as applying to grief in general. But Keller uses it to show that our grieving is normal, yet it is not like the grief of non-believers because it is grief “bathed in hope”.
Grief has become a daily companion of mine. One that is often these days just a dull sound in the background of life; I realize it is there, but it doesn’t interfere with my daily responsibilities or the joy that God grants. Then there are rarer days like today, when grief threatens to roll over me. The dull sound becomes like an angry crashing wave…..carrying me with it into depths that I can’t describe. This grief is not just over the loss of my husband due to his crimes, but grief that contains so much more that I can not speak of here. It threatens to undo me.
But Keller has reminded me tonight—mourn, but do not mourn as one who has no hope! My grief, as painful as it is, is bathed in the glorious hope that is given to me by my Jesus. Hope that He sees and knows. Hope that says my grief is not for nothing, that God is using even this to shape me into the person He has called me to be. Hope that reminds me that a time will come with no more tears and no more pain.
I do not want to grieve a senseless grief that has no meaning. When these days over come me—and over come you—I want them to be covered in a cloak of hope. And I want to share that hope with the world, because so many grieve without the hope that you and I know as the children of God.
I loved this story about Ambrose, grieving for his brother who had died. He said:
We have not incurred any grievous sin by our tears. Not all grieving proceeds from unbelief or weakness….the Lord also wept. He wept for one not related to Him; I for my brother. He wept for all in weeping for one; I will weep for the all, in weeping for my brother.
Beautiful explanation of Christ’s grief for Lazarus in his death. Beautiful explanation of Christ’s grief over the hurt and pain we must and will experience here in life. In my grief, I grieve for others who experience horrendous nightmares, for others who are hurting single parents, for others that have been abandoned. Yet I don’t grieve without hope—for me or for them.
Are you grieving tonight? Does the roar of the grief threaten to undo you? Look back at 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Cling to that hope. As I look towards ending this difficult day, I cling to that verse and pray that God will grant hope, joy, and relief from the grief tonight–and that sleep will be peaceful. And I pray for you, too, who’s hearts are heavy. Do not grieve without hope. If you don’t know how to find this hope, I’d love to share with you how I know there is hope to be had, even in the very darkest of circumstances—all based on the loving sacrifice of my Jesus for our sins, His death and resurrection, and His continuous grace, mercy and love for us.