We Grieve with Hope

November 22, 2019
Hello church family:  This week I have to start out this letter with some bad news but I promise, as God also promises, there is always good news coming.  You know that this world that we live in is difficult.  It is broken.  We are living in a world that is not operating the way it was designed to operate.  And the difficult truth about our lives is that we will not escape life’s realities.  None of us will escape disappointment, none of us will successfully avoid pain and none of us will escape loss.  We cannot escape these while living in this fallen world.  As a result of disappointment, pain and loss we experience a very strong emotion.  This emotion may be the strongest emotion we will ever experience on this earth.  This emotion is the emotion of grief.

Grief is an all-encompassing emotion that visits us for some time after we experience loss.  Grief is a normal emotion to experience. There is no time-table or even constant order of how it works in each of our lives.  Grief is as individual as our own fingerprint.  Even as grief is a natural reaction to loss we must understand that grief can also be an emotion that can lead us away from the truths of the gospel.  Grief can make us run from God.  Grief can paralyze us and isolate us from the people of God.  Grief can lie to us that God just does not care, or that He is punishing us, or that he is mad at us.

The great news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has come to understand our grief so that He can minister to us in that grief.  Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3).  Jesus shares our grief.  The Holy Spirit has been given to us to intercede for us in our grief with groaning too deep for words (Romans 8:26) and to give us great peace in our grief (John 14:26).  The story of the Bible makes great promises to us during our times of loss and grief.  Our God is a God of hope so that we may abound in hope during our grief (Romans 15:13).  The promise of the gospel is that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that whoever believes in Him, though he die, yet he shall live and everyone who believes in Him shall never die.  This means that Jesus is always conquering loss and death in the lives of those who believe.  Jesus has come to put to death - death and loss.  Not just physical death but also the death of relationships, or the death of of a job, the loss of trust, the loss of friendships, or even the precious things we thought we would have but never did.  Jesus has come to bring life to each one of the places in our lives where death has come near.  Even in physical death Jesus promises newness of life with Him in eternity.  As believers we have the promise that everything that is bad is going to become untrue, undone, made new, redeemed.  As Jesus asks in John 11:26, “Do you believe this?”  

Remind your grief that God knows it.  He cares for your grief.  He puts all of your grieving tears in HIs bottle, He knows every one of your tears that have been shed (Psalm 56:8).  Tell your grief that God is going to make all things new.  Tell your grief that you will not let it define you, because God has promised us, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11.  The gospel is for us to navigate grief with the understanding that we are a child of God and He is resurrecting us now even in our loss and grief.  Get up, trust God and embrace the life that God has given you today.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday: - Steve

Psalm 42:5  What are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, may salvation and my God.

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