Grief is part of the human experience. We avoid it, we dread it, but we will all experience it. Grief, when it happens, changes us and our lives and our future. There is no retreat from the loss that caused our grief. We grieve because our lives have been changed forever….in a way we never imagined, never wanted.
Grief is our response to a terrible loss. It’s the right response to loss. How could we not cry when we lose someone we love? How could we not grieve when we are shocked by something that should never have happened? Grief is a right response to the loss. Tears are part of the grieving process.
Grief is also social. We grieve best in community. We need each other more when a loss happens and we gather together to grieve, to cry, to sorrow. Somehow community helps us deal with grief. We have an opportunity to talk about our loss, our pain, our hurt. We have a chance to cry with someone who listens and cares about us.
Grief, believe it or not, is a gift from God. He helps us through our grief to give us peace and comfort. What grief tells us all is that this is not the way it is supposed to be. What has happened to us that has caused our grief is not right, not the way we should live. And our response, as we grieve, tells us this is not the way we were designed.
Soon grief will be done away with. Tears will be dried. Reasons for grief will be permanently dealt with. Soon God will put death to death and grief will no longer be part of our lives. Until then he gives us hope, peace, a promise of eternal life ahead. Until then he gives us each other to hug, to cry, to grieve together. Until the day grief is put to death he gives us the promise of peace and life ahead. This is not the end…..grief will one day be swallowed up in joy.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.
It has been said that there are 365 ‘fear not’s in the Bible, one for everyday of the year. Others have searched and found only 100. Whatever, the number, it is a powerful promise from God…even if it appeared only once, it still stands as an AWESOME comfort for us.
Here are some of my favorite ‘do not fear’ and ‘do not be afraid’ verses from Genesis to Revelation:
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. ” – Genesis 15:1
And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” – Genesis 26:24
So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. – Genesis 46:3
And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” – Exodus 20:20
Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’ – Deuteronomy 1:21
And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” – Joshua 10:25
Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” – Judges 6:23
And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. – Ruth 3:11
Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. – 1 Samuel 12:20
So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” – 2 Samuel 9:7
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” – 2 Kings 6:16
And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. – 1 Chronicles 28:20
In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56:4
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? – Psalm 118:6
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:4
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13
Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’” – Isaiah 44:8
“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. – Isaiah 54:4
“But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, And do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, And your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; No one shall make him afraid. – Jeremiah 46:27
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. – Daniel 10:12
Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler. – Jeremiah 51:46
‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ – Haggai 2:5
So again in these days I am determined to do good To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear. – Zechariah 8:15
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 1:20
Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. – Matthew 10:26
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:31
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. – Matthew 28:5
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. – Luke 1:13
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. – Luke 1:3
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. – Luke 2:10
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. – Luke 12:4
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12:32
“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” – John 12:15
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened.” – 1 Peter 3:14
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. – Revelation 1:17
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. – Revelation 2:10
The words of a commentary come to mind this morning as I start my day, “The best word to describe someone who has not trusted Christ as savior is ‘without.'” It’s part of a commentary on the book of Ephesians. As those words came to me early this morning I thought, what would be on the list of the things that someone would be without? What is the man or woman missing if they don’t trust Christ?
The world would say that if you become a Christian “you will really miss out.” The implication is that there is a lot of good sinning to be had and if you become one of those Christians you can’t “have fun.” But, I wonder, what would be on the list of the things a person without Christ would be without. Here’s a few as I think about this,
1. without hope
2. without a promise
3. without a future
4. without God
5. without peace
6. without joy
7. without direction
I’m working on the list, but those few come to mind in a moment of typing. It strikes me that if you are without Christ you are without a future, without direction, without a promise, without God in the world. Instead of “missing out on the fun” the Christian is really the most blessed of people because they are no longer “without.”
It’s often hard for me to see God’s work in my life. I’m living moment by moment and I can’t see what he is doing in my moments. The light that shows me what God is doing sometimes comes much later. Most of the time I only get a glimpse, a stream of light through the clouds, a smile from heaven as it were. Finding my way is the challenge of life. How to navigate the road ahead when I only see a little bit in front of me.
I remember, years ago, while driving late at night in my 1937 Plymouth Road King that I accidentally hit the light switch and turned off the lights. What a panic! Going down the road in pitch blackness at 60 miles per hour. I quickly fumbled for the lights and the fear that overwhelmed me from the experience took hours to wane. It’s that feeling we often live with…the feeling of living in the dark. How to find the way? How to know what God is doing. It’s often a matter of trust when we see nothing at all.
Finding my way….I’m still working on it. But what I know is that God has promised to lead me, to help me, just as a guide would lead a blind man, holding my hand and leading me around the things I can’t even see. Paul wrote these words in Philippians, “My God will supply all your needs in Christ Jesus…” My greatest need is a guide to show me the way. I’m so glad he is that tender hand leading me along…even when I can’t see the way to go.
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
The discussion focused for a moment on this strange phrase, “the law of liberty.” It’s a short phrase that presents a paradox. Law and liberty seem, in our day, to be opposites, but in this short passage the text puts these two concepts together. The law of liberty is a contrast to the law of Moses. The law of Moses had 10 commandments, but many more requirements. The law of liberty has one item and yet it fulfills and replaces perfectly the law of Moses! How can this new law of liberty replace all that the old law required? How can this new law of liberty do what the law could not?
It fulfills the law and gives liberty with this one simple command- Love your neighbor as yourself. That one command replaces the law and gives liberty to those living by this new law. Love your neighbor as yourself. It’s a law that brings liberty because when I love those around me it sets me free from a list, rules, trying to measure up, trying to please. Love makes the difficult easy. Love, as Solomon wrote, covers a multitude of sins. This amazing law of liberty sets me free to enjoy people. I don’t have to try to please them, control them or make them happy. All that is accomplished by love and it sets me free to have real, deep and meaningful relationships. A law that produces liberty? Amazing, but wonderfully true. Today I’m just meditating on this promise of a law that brings liberty.