May 27-28, 2017
Yesterday we talked about joy and the ability to rejoice in all circumstances. Well, in this world, sad things do happen. So some of you might be wondering, “How do I experience joy with a thankful attitude when sad or evil events happen?” Well, it is possible to rejoice and mourn at the same time.
You see, when my oldest daughter went off to college, excitement, joy, sadness and fear were just part of the complex cocktail of emotions I experienced, but they were all at the same time. Since we are multifaceted beings who wear many hats, every one of our experiences will evoke a number of emotions in us, and some of those feelings will contradict each other. I know that when it is time to give each of my three daughters in marriage, a flood of feelings will flow through me. They will run the spectrum from fear, sadness, and jealousy, to happiness, pride, excitement and exuberant expectation.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one or being the victim of abuse are two of the most difficult situations in which to experience any positive feelings or thankfulness. When God places people alongside us, to help us mourn and to keep us connected to Him while Satan is trying to isolate and destroy us, those angels are definitely worthy of thanksgiving. They have helped me rejoice in the big picture of God’s plan, His love, His answer in Jesus, and His forgiveness even though this small chapter of my life had a strong dose of sadness.
Perhaps you sense God calling you to minister to people who have suffered the loss of a loved one by death. But how? So often we feel helpless and just don't know what to say. We might even avoid contact with the bereaved person because we are afraid we might say or do the wrong thing.
Before entering this area of ministry, we must recognize that authenticity is essential. We dare not play charades or project false images or unrealistic hopes to the newly bereaved person. We should do some reading about the phases involved in the process of grieving … not to put the grieving person into a mold, but to better understand some of the stages that most people experience.
It is important to remember that ministering to grieving individuals involves listening more than helping. We need to listen for Satan’s lies and gently bring them back to the truth. We cannot tell them what to do. We cannot fix their problem. But we can be with them. Our presence is more important than words. God calls us to come alongside and mourn with them, to be His tangible hands and audible voice – to share His love and compassion. God will work through you to show them they have value and dignity in His eyes.
They know we cannot perform miracles, take away their loss or make the pain go away. They are just looking for connection … to walk the path with someone … to be shown hope and dignity … to be comforted and held when they feel they can’t function independently in this season of life.
Today, reflect on how you handle adversity, even the loss of a loved one. What would you want from someone to help you? Has God put a grieving person in your life? How will you reveal Him to them? Take action and make that phone call. Invite God to work through you. Whether you are a bright Lighthouse to others, or you bring more darkness into their life is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, Teach me to help those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. My tendency is to try and "fix" the problem when someone is hurting. Help me remember that I can’t fix the problem … can't speak the right words that will make everything better. But I can be there. I can listen. I can pray. I can be your vehicle of love and compassion. I can mourn with them. Help me guard their hearts from Satan and point them back to You. May the love and compassion of Jesus flow through me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who mourns for us and with us, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”