Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finding Hope Again

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”” - John 16:33

We all could use a little Hope Now.

WALKING YOUR WAY THROUGH DEATH'S DARKNESS

Death mixes happiness with sadness. But we can act in ways that show our hope in Christ.

Speak with Honest Emotion

Your faith in God should never silence you in the dark hours of grief. Rather, this is when we begin to understand how deep, rich, and sturdy God's love for us really is. He enters the darkest moments of human existence with boundless mercy, unending love, and amazing grace.

The Psalms record the cries of God's people: "For the Lord has heard my weeping" (Ps. 6:8). They invite us to bring our grief to the One who cares for us more than anyone else ever could. God never turns a deaf ear to the cries of his children. He listens - and answers. Have you poured out your grief to him?


Run to Where Comfort Can Be Found

In grief, we often seek out other comforts: memories, material things, distractions (TV, CD player, exercise, reading, crafts, work, food, people).

THIS BLOG

They all provide some measure of comfort but none can fill the one place where grief causes us to feel so empty - our hearts.

Only one Person can provide the comfort that restores your heart - the source of all true comfort, Jesus Christ.


Resist Grief's Temptations

In times of loss and grief, look out for these temptations.

Doubt

If you wander down into a dark, windowless basement and the door locks behind you, you can't see any light or feel the sun's warmth. But did the sun stop shining? No. Powerful feelings of grief can get in the way of our experience of God's goodness. But don't give in to doubt. Hold onto your belief in his love and mercy more than ever before.

Anger

It blinds you to God's true nature and ever-present help.

Envy

Envy is rooted in a disappointment with God that says, "You didn't give me what I want!"

Self-pity

Life becomes all about you. No one's loss or pain is as great as yours. Despite the way you feel, don't set aside the two great commands to love God and others.

Seek God's Resources

Paul tells us (in the book of Galatians)we should "bear one another's burdens" precisely because he knows that we will all encounter burdens too heavy to carry alone. (Gal 6:2)

This is important that we do these things!

1. Cry out in weakness and ask for help from others. God never expected you to do this alone. Asking for help does not show a lack of faith.

2. God promised to provide what you need to face what He calls you to face.

3. Those who help you will in turn be helped through helping you.


Look for Blessing in Your Grief

"give thanks in all circumstances, for his is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess. 5:18)

Again, Paul speaks. (My friend said the New Testament should really be called the Paul Testament because he wrote most of the books. I thought that was funny, and interesting.)

"Even in life's hardest moments, God calls you to look for His grace, to search for His love, and to expect His mercy." Don't let grief rob you of worship or permit a complaining spirit to replace a thankful heart.

You will find blessing in the middle of your grief. Perhaps there will be precious family moments. Perhaps it will be a sense of God's presence in a moment of struggle. Maybe the wisdom of His Word will guide just when you need it most. Perhaps your relationship with the Lord will deepen. Death has a way of clarifying truth for us. We see how weak and needy we are and we gain a deeper understanding of God's powerful grace. We learn to seek him in ways we never have before and spiritual growth begins.


Celebrate Eternity

Yes, you still miss your loved one greatly. You feel the stinging pain of loss. But your pain does not have to give way to discouragement, depression, and desperation. Even this moment of pain can be colored by your hope.

I told you it was a lot!

Give Away the Comfort You Have Been Given

The comfort God has given you is not only His loving ministry to you, it is His call to you to minister to others. You have experienced the pain of loss, but you have also begun to experience the comfort that only the Lord can give. You are God's agent of help and hope. God entered your darkness, not just to give your heart rest, but to equip you to give that rest to others.

That is my favorite part. God has placed many people in my life just at the right time. His timing!

SEEING LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

In the darkness, you can see the brightest light of God's truth. Your heart can embrace the hope that God will give you the resources to face what He leads you through.

I think we forget that so often because we are focused on the darkest, saddest parts of our lives. We need to get out of our own heads and out of our own way and make room for Jesus. It won't be in our strength because if it was, we would never do it. I laid in bed and would have done so all day but the Holy Spirit prompted me to get up!

Anyway...day by day...hour by hour...moment by moment, we find our way.

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