Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Grace for the Grieving

Another phone call with news we never want to hear...my uncle Arnie passed away today after a battle with cancer. The same disease that took his mom, my grandma, two and half years ago. As I let the tears fall, memories filled my mind and sadness filled my heart. Thoughts of Arnie's wife, sons, daughters-in-law and grandkids made me hurt. We've been on this road of grief and I know they have hard days ahead.

As I sympathized for them and grieved with them, thoughts went to others who've lost loved ones too. New grief wounds seem to open old ones. My kids talked about heaven and all the people they know there. My mind thought about earth and all the ones we miss here.

Our minds are a powerful thing and sometimes mine can be a dangerous place, so as my thoughts started to drift, I decided to take them captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Rather than allowing myself to become depressed, I started to pray. It was good, powerful and needed. Once I was done lifting those I love, I was still and tried to listen. Friend, we must remember prayer is not a one sided conversation.

As I sat in the silence, God whispered a question to my heart - "Jill, what do you need." Instantly a one word answer came from my lips - "Grace". We need God's amazing grace to save us, but in moments of grief I'm reminded we also need it to sustain us. God's grace is a gift...one we need to receive.

These thoughts went through my mind and I was reminded of our sermon from earlier this week. Our pastor preached from Philippians 4 and verse 19 comforted my soul. Here Paul says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." Join me for a minute and think about what this means.

First of all, Paul points us to our provider - God is the one who can strengthen, comfort and provide perspective. What do you need? God will provide. Go to Him. Seek Him. Ask Him.

Then He reminds us of a promise - God will meet ALL our needs. As Pastor Tim said, "All is a promise, but needs must be qualified." And God is the one who can rightly differentiate between needs and wants, requirements and desires. If you're a Mom, you understand how parents are to provide for children's needs - God is our Heavenly Father and He understands this perfectly.

Finally, Paul tells us the extent of God's provision. Paul says according to His riches, not from them. Pastor Tim used a great illustration - friend, we have unlimited refills. God's grace is inexhaustible. We don't have to worry about there being some left over for tomorrow. Ask for all you need today. He's able to provide it. Then He can do the same tomorrow. His resources never run out.

Friend, if you are grieving today I pray you will go to God and ask Him for grace. He has what you need, what I need and what my uncle's family needs. And if you're walking alongside those who are grieving, allow God to use you as a vessel to pour out His grace.

The grieving (whether it's fresh or on-going) need others to listen, share a smile, offer a hug and bring a meal. They also need people to be present and share memories. And to remember that grief is personal and unique to each individual, so respect that and offer grace as they walk a road that's hard. Let's also not forget that grief never really goes away...when a loved one leaves this world for the next we'll always miss them whether it's been a day or a decade.

A big thank you to all of you who have been praying and encouraging my family and me over the last few months in our walk down the grief road. We're grateful for you and the grace God gives through you!

Know this: my God will also fill every need you have 
according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, 
our Liberating King. Philippians 4:19 
(The Voice)

1 comment:

  1. Your words so blessed me today. I went to my first funeral since my father-in-law passed away. It was so hard. Tears just fell as I sat in the back of the church to support my friend whose Dad just passed away. I too found solace in prayer and singing hymns praising our God. Loss is hard. But I KNOW that I will see him again!!! Hallelujah.