What a full summer for us! There are plenty of exciting pictures of long-awaited kitchen progress to share soon (I’m cooking on the new stove already and we have the bar counter top ready to install!), and I’m very pleased with some other home projects we have accomplished as well, like making over the brick fireplace and relaying some stone pathways outside before reseeding all the grass. This has been a good season, and we are grateful for the chances to improve our home and see so many beloved friends and family. …And then at the end of this excellent summer, I find myself thrown into situations where grief is all around, both for myself and those I hold dear. This is truly a heavy thing to think on and discuss.
Someone who isn’t in the midst of this can pull all sorts of cliche comments out of thin air, trying to explain gut-wrenching heartache by saying things like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or “Things will get better; your good time will come soon,” but those are shallow answers to one who is devastated by sadness. A trite comment cannot explain away the painfully simple truth: grief is hard, dark and lonely. Whether you are witness to the deep soul-groaning of the bereaved or experiencing it yourself, the weight of difficulty seems unbearable and cruel. It is true comfort for a Christian to cling to Jesus, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, in these times.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53, esv)
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? …Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8, esv)