Posts Tagged grief

No More Pain

Psalm 30: 1, 5               God’s Word

Verses 7 – 8, 10 – 11    Passion Translation

I will honor you highly, O Lord, because you have pulled me out of the pit. Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning. I was panic-stricken and became depressed. Still I cried out to you, Lord God. I shouted out for mercy. So hear me now, Lord; show me your famous mercy. O God, be my Savior and rescue me! Then he broke through and transformed all my wailing into a whirling dance of ecstatic praise! He has torn the veil and lifted from me the sad heaviness of mourning. He wrapped me in the glory garments of gladness.

This psalm is full of praise, but it also reveals the intense mourning and emotional torment that David endured. One side of the coin may be praise but often the other side is tumultuous challenge and seemingly insurmountable problems. Reading it immediately made me think of all the hurting people in the world, people who are depressed and even suicidal and my heart, like yours, grieves for these people. I want to say, “Fear not, joy comes in the morning.” The NASB version of verse 5 says that a shout of joy comes in the morning. That’s big. Though the night may be spent in tears, there is hope, there is salvation and the situation will improve.

We sometimes limit Jesus’ scope of salvation to deliverance from sin and hell. Salvation means so much more to Jesus than simply eternal life with him. He is our savior in every single situation in this life. When you comprehend the richness of salvation and eternal life you understand that you are living your eternal life now. It isn’t that we will die and be reborn to eternal life. You are there now, we all are. So, this salvation of which David writes is the deliverance from grief, the release from mourning. It is the hope of a new day, a day which is full of promise and even resurrection. Each day is so new that it truly is a beginning and one thing we know about life, things constantly change. Life is not static. Therefore, though there are huge problems now, ultimately things will alter. For every problem, there is a solution. For every grief there is joy. That seems impossible when one is overwhelmed by grief, but it really is true. David could tell you it’s true and many other people as well.

Why did Jesus tell us to go and share the good news of the gospel? I believe the core of that answer is so that he could save people from the hopelessness of their present situations. We know that God gave his only son so that none should perish but rather that all should pertain to eternal life in paradise with Him (John 3: 16). God took care of eternal life. He has already done what needed doing in order to save us all from eternal damnation. God did that. It was His job. Now, we have a job to do. Jesus told us to go into all the world and share the good news of the gospel. To me that means sharing a lot more than one verse. Sure, tell all people about John 3: 16 and how the Father sacrificed His son and sent him to hell so that we would be spared. Just don’t stop there. Jesus said of himself that he came into the earth to give us life and that more abundantly (John 10: 10). He came to give us a full life, to save us from the train wreck that many of us have made of our lives here on earth. What I am trying to get you to see is that salvation and the good news of the gospel is so much bigger than a singular event, extraordinary though it is.

Jesus wants to save us in our frustrations, from our anger, he wants to heal the emotional scars we carry around, save us from our deepest depression and restore us to joy. Jesus is the joy of the earth. You cannot be in him and with him and depressed. He is glory itself. He is the lifter of our heads. That is good news. He is the lover of our souls. He lifts us even when it feels like the sun won’t rise in the morning. There is no problem which he cannot overcome.

I think our job is to go out and tell people the good news about God and Jesus and how much they love us so that they will not face hopelessness and so they will know they are never alone. Everyone needs to be loved by a love that is so sublime that it is breath to our lungs and health to all our bodies. Jesus is life, there is no life without him (John 14: 6). He has given a piece of himself to every human being so that they might have love, life, and hope. If we will go into the world and simply tell them the good news about a benevolent being who loves them and is powerful enough to save them from whatever torment they encounter, then I pray and believe there will be no suicide in the earth. We have the antidote for depression. God loves us, each and every one. He gave His only son as a sacrificial lamb. That has to stand for something. He didn’t do that because He is ambivalent towards us. Furthermore, He did that for a people who did not know Him, who did not love Him.

Please, send this to anyone you know who needs to hear the good news about being devoutly loved. Share the love and joy of the Holy One, not just so you can get them into heaven, but so they can have some relief right here and right now. There is no reason people have to suffer. Jesus is their saving grace for today, for tonight, for the dark times and the dark places. He is the light, the light of hope. And, say a prayer for everyone who is hurting. Ask the Lord of grace to shine his light more brightly through each one of us so that all, and I do mean all, may know there is a God and that He loves them immensely.

Relief

Isaiah 61: 3         NIV

. . . a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Recently I listened to a CD titled Revival in Belfast by Robin Mark. The first track on the album is Garments of Praise. The lyric says, “Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. I have listened to this CD many, many times but this time the lyric struck me as never before. I wish to share with you the revelation that God gave me.

Isaiah 61 is Jesus’ commission; it is what God called him to do. This segment of Isaiah 61 is part of what God commissioned Jesus to do; to give us garments of praise in place of a spirit of despair. The New American Standard Bible reads, “a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” When we are in despair, Jesus’ commission kicks in to replace that despair with a garment of praise. God’s Word translation reads, “the oil of joy instead of tears of grief.” Jesus pours the oil of joy over us to replace our tears of grief. 

As I listened to the song Garments of Praise I realized that I could elect to put on the garment of praise instead of my sackcloth of despair. I can choose the oil of gladness instead of tears of grief. I am not saying that there are not times of grief in our lives. What I am saying is that Jesus has already provided a mantle of praise with which we can replace the spirit of fainting. I learned, however, that even though Jesus has already provided for this exchange, giving us the garment of praise in place of grief, it is I who must don the clothing which he has purchased for me. 

God is our strength, He is the joy and the lifter of our heads. However, we have to choose to put on the garment of praise. When we do, we find that the He lifts the grief. He will get you through the toughest times of life but you must use the tools He has given you. He has already given you the garment of praise for that day when despair encompasses you. I find that some people think God has let them down in their time of need but He is there saying, “Look, I have already provided. Put on your robe!!” It must cause Him great chagrin when people do not avail themselves of all of the gifts, weaponry and tools that He has provided. So, when you are sad, remember that God has already made a substitutionary allowance. Start to praise, begin to sing and worship, you will find your relief in the garment of praise.

Call to Duty

Job 26: 2

How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength?

“These are the times that try men’s souls” (Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776). Undoubtedly those revolutionary times challenged the would-be Americans down to their souls. Truly, though most of us live in much more stable environments than pre-revolution America, each person usually must endure a season of great challenge. It is in these times that we find the strength of God rising to meet us in our times of great need.

When we are powerless, when our arms lack strength, when we are weary down to our bones, our Father fills all the voids and strengthens us. He sustains us and restores our souls. We see this miracle of grace throughout the psalms but it is when you see it manifesting in your own life that your own life takes on new depth and new meaning. And when you approach these trying times looking to the Lord our God, you find that his fulfilling grace is palpable. You can almost touch it, almost see it. It is real.

I am going through one of these challenging times of life and I truly want to learn and grow through it. One of my loved ones is dying of cancer and there is nothing the doctors can do. We must all face these times but they can be easier in the grace of God. So far I have learned two important lessons. First of all, allow people to help you. Allow people to be a blessing to you. Superman is a fictional character so don’t try to be a superhero. Let those who love you express their love and concern for you. It is part of their grieving and healing for you both. My friend Carol, encouraged me to share this difficult time with you. She is teaching me to let people express their love for me. Lin, our graphics genius has inspired me with such wisdom. One of the statements she made to me was, “Ivey, you give to us every day, let us give to you.” This is such a hard thing to do but I recognize that their wisdom is flowing right from the heart of God.

Secondly, I have learned that God fills us up through His power flowing right through the atmosphere and the Holy Spirit to anoint your home, hospital room and your heart. That was not unexpected but what I have learned is that He greatly uses other people and their prayers to minister His anointing, His grace, His love and His mercy in the time of need. As I make my heart tender and vulnerable, as I simply open my eyes I see the anointing of God on total strangers. People come to you in your time of need. People you don’t know will reach out to you in that Spirit which is from God. You will connect at a level which is beyond this physical realm and it will bring comfort to your soul.

Some people will not be able to rise to the challenge. Don’t judge them. They just haven’t grown in that area yet. Some of the people you think will jump to your side won’t. It’s okay. Pray for them. No, really. Pray for them, it will do your heart good and the Blessed Father will show you their own hurts and limitations. It will give your heart peace. 

In conclusion, I want my challenge to help me grow, learn and to empower me to help others. Many of you have known deep sorrow. Some of you have undergone exactly what I am going through now. We are all learning and growing and part of that growth is to learn to be vulnerable. Another important sign of spiritual growth is showing an active compassion; that is compassion which isn’t passive but which instead moves into action.

I am calling you each into active duty today. This is a request for you to pray for me and my loved ones. We have been borne up by the prayers of our friends and family. It really does make a difference. So, pray for me.

There is a second part of this call to action though. We are a body, a family. Everyone who reads this daily devotional is important to me personally as well to others. We should stand for one another. I want you to write to us when you need prayer and I want us to be able to rely on each other for prayer and prayer support. We will be using the upcoming website as a medium for us all to connect with one another. I envision a person posting a prayer request and every one of us who reads the Word of the Day saying an immediate even if brief prayer for that person.

There are people reading this devotional all over the world. We need to join hands and become a people of prayer and of support for one another. Our faith was never meant to be passive but active and living and fully expressing the power and love of our Lord Jesus and our Father who sent the Holy Spirit into the earth to give us strength and miracle working power. Join hands with me as I join hands with believers all over the world. Let us reach out and make a difference in people’s lives through the love of God. Give God’s love wings through prayer. Together we are very powerful. Alone we are weak. Be the leader and lover you have been anointed to be. In Jesus’ name.