Trusting God During Grief
Several years ago, more than 10 close family members, friends, co-workers, and ministry team members died in less than 24 months. It was a difficult time. At times, the grief was tremendous and, in my exhaustion, all I could do was cry out to God. The psalmist David shared a similar experience as he lamented,
“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress, my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing” (Psalm 31:9-10 ESV).
During this time, I began to wonder how long my season of grief would last. As I walked through my mourning, I asked God to lead me and be my strength as I processed my emotions and slowly moved forward with my life, dreams and goals. The words of the psalmist David once again echoed my own experience as he wrote,
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me. Psalm 31:3
Often the Lord would lead me to Scriptures, and even to people, that encouraged me through empathetic words, prayers, meals, housework help, and errands. All of this encouraged me to trust in God even more as my healing continued.
Through my time of grief, I also experienced God’s peace and comfort. As He comforted me, he reassured me through His Word that grief was a normal human reaction to loss. I also came to the realization that losses of many kinds can lead to grief. Whether it is a job loss, a relationship loss, or even loss of a favorite regular routine such as many of us experienced during the pandemic, a form of grief often follows.
Trust God in hard times. Even when times are hard and grief seems to be a constant companion, trusting God is possible. In my time of loss, I chose to trust that God was still with me and still had a glorious plan for my life. As David said in Psalm 31:14,
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”
With tears streaming down my cheeks, sometimes I would just whisper, “I trust in You, God.” Those words encouraged me to continue to trust God, and they were also my way of saying to God that I still trusted Him even when I did not understand why I was experiencing such tremendous loss.
May the following prayer encourage you if you find yourself experiencing grief of any kind.
1 Chronicles 16:8-11 8Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 9Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 11Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
Chronicles records the story of the ark coming to Jerusalem. The first time they tried to bring it their own way, and Uzzah died. The second time they did it according to the Word of the LORD. There was great rejoicing. David danced so all-out that his wife despised him. Musicians were appointed to play before the ark on a regular basis. David gave gifts of food to everyone. It was truly a festive occasion.
At that time David committed a psalm to his worship leader, Asaph. He didn’t just give it to him, but committed it to him. Asaph had this Spirit inspired song and was now responsible to see it sung. Is that how we feel about Spirit inspired music? It is committed to our worship leaders so that they see it is sung to the LORD.
In this psalm David commands us to give thanks to the LORD, to call on His name and to tell the nations what God has done. He is commanding us to send out missionaries. We are to sing to Him! We often sing about Him, telling of His wonderful acts, but we need to sing to Him also. We are to glory in His holy name. His name is the sum of His attributes. Glory in all that God is! If you seek the LORD, your heart should rejoice.
Then David told a lesson that was just reinforced. He sought God when the Philistine army came against Israel. The first time God directed them one way to victory. The second time God directed them in a different way, and they defeated the enemy again. Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. That is something Saul did not do, but David was determined to do.
Seeing and not seeing, or men as trees walking
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘He took the blind man by the hand …; when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, … and he … saw every man clearly.’ Mark 8:23–25
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 5:11–14
Be not satisfied, my dear friends, with being saved; desire to know how you are saved, why you are saved, the method by which you are saved. It is a rock on which you stand, I know, but think upon the questions—how you were put upon that rock, by whose love you came there, and why that love was set on you. I would to God that all the members of this church were not only in Christ Jesus, but understood him, and knew by the assurance of the understanding whereunto they have attained. Recollect there are many grave distinctions in Scripture which will save you a world of trouble if you will know and remember them. Try to understand the difference between the old nature and the new. Never expect the old nature to improve into the new, for it never will. The old nature can never do anything but sin, and the new nature never can sin. These are two distinct principles; never confound them. Do not see men as trees walking. Do not confuse sanctification and justification. Recollect that the moment you trust in Christ you are justified as completely as you will be in heaven, but sanctification is a gradual work, which is carried on from day to day by God the Holy Spirit. Distinguish between the great truth that salvation is all of God, and the great lie that men are not to be blamed if they are lost. Be well assured that salvation is of the Lord, but do not lay damnation at God’s door. Be not ashamed if men call you a Calvinist, but hate with all your heart Antinomianism. On the other hand, while you believe human responsibility, never run into the error that man ever turns to God of his own free will. There is a narrow line between the two errors; ask for grace to see it.
Wait on the Lord (for He Waits for You) – Streams in the Desert – July 22
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And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you… blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18).
We must not only think of our waiting upon God, but also of what is more wonderful still, of God’s waiting upon us. The vision of Him waiting on us will give new impulse and inspiration to our waiting upon Him. It will give us unspeakable confidence that our waiting cannot be in vain. Let us seek even now, at this moment, in the spirit of waiting on God, to find out something of what it means.
He has inconceivably glorious purposes concerning every one of His children. And you ask, “How is it, if He waits to be gracious, that even after I come and wait upon Him, He does not give the help I seek, but waits on longer and longer?” God is a wise husbandman, “who waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it.” He cannot gather the fruit till it is ripe. He knows when we are spiritually ready to receive the blessing to our profit and His glory. Waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen the soul for His blessing. Waiting under the cloud of trial, that breaks in showers of blessings, is as needful.
Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He sent His Son. Our times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long.