Tag Archives: Hope For The Hurting

RESTING IN THE STEADINESS OF CHRIST’S LOVE

Jesus Never Changes

Look at the beautiful sky,” I said enthusiastically. I was in awe as I was telling my husband to look behind us and see the beauty of the sunset. Michael and I were walking at a park near our house where we often see the sun going down in the evenings.

The splendor in the sky reminded me of the steadfastness of the Lord. I love how the patterns in the earth are tangible signs of God’s never-changing character. Every single day the sun rises and then the sun sets during the latter part of the day. Every day the earth rotates and the cycle repeats itself again and again. This alone is enough evidence that God is a good Father—our provider and comforter.

In this world that seems to be falling apart, we can count on Christ for stability.

In a time that’s filled with uncertainties, we can rest in the steadiness of Christ’s love. Jesus never changes. He is the same today and always.

Lord,

Thank You for never changing. No matter what is happening in our lives we can always count on You to be there to listen, to comfort, and to love us without limits. Your love melts stress away. Your love turns sadness into joy. Your love is simply marvelous. Help us spread Your love to those who are mourning. Please, Lord, be with the people in France today in the midst of their pain. Heal and protect the people who are hurting. Surround them with Your presence and be their never-ending source of comfort. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8

Photo Credit: My husband captured the picture during one of our walks.

FACING GRIEF COURAGEOUSLY

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN

Grief is an inescapable reality. In this life there is death, divorce, and hardships of all kinds. Thankfully, we have hope through the blood and power of Christ. In the Bible verse, John 16:33, Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Because of Christ, we can overcome the troubles of this world and live a beautiful, victorious life.

Grief is the opportunity to run into the arms of Jesus and experience His healing love in unimaginable ways. Pain is what takes our eyes off this present life and draws us into an eternal perspective and leads us to joy that cannot be stolen away from us. I’ve experienced some of life’s greatest joys while in the midst of life’s most difficult losses.

It was nearly twenty years ago that grief touched my life profoundly when a close friend’s life ended tragically. For weeks, she was missing; search groups were formed to look for any hint of her whereabouts. It was an agonizing time of uncertainty while we were searching and desperately wanting to find our friend. Eventually, in February of 1996, her body was discovered. She had been murdered at the age of thirty, leaving two children behind. Sweet, beautiful Angela was gone—she was ripped from our lives in the most horrific way. It was grief I had never known before.

After I heard about Angela’s death, memories of our late night talks flooded my heart, and I resisted the feelings of guilt for not reaching out to her during the prior weeks. I clung to my faith and drew near to Christ.

I’m thankful I have journal pages filled with the details of all Christ did for me during such a traumatic time. The words in the next several paragraphs are written just as they are in my journal, with some of the words and pages omitted.

 

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I feel such a strong presence of God in my life. I had no idea this whole tragedy was going to hit me so hard. But in the midst of the pain, God had His hand on me continually.

Sunday night I met Stephanie, a lifelong friend of Angela’s. And right away I felt like she was the nicest person. Then Monday night, they asked me to help with the eulogy. Tuesday morning, Ginny, Kim, Susan, and Kelly and I all met to finalize the writing of the eulogy. Stephanie was distressed over how she could read this in front of so many people without falling apart. I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her. So we all held hands and I prayed. I reassured Stephanie by saying, “You’ll get through it.”

When we were at the funeral and she was reading it, I never imagined she could do it so perfectly. It was like God touched her in that moment. He had answered my prayer. The eulogy was perfect. She could not have presented it more beautifully. There was not a flaw. At that moment I knew everything was going to be okay. It was like God came down and wrapped His arms around me and comforted me. God was in the middle of this! He did immeasurably more than I could have imagined. After the service, I began searching for Stephanie. As I looked for her, I saw her face looking around and her lips we’re saying, “Where’s Amy?” She saw me and I embraced her. I cried a little and said, “It was perfect; God answered our prayers.”

I don’t know that I’ll ever see Stephanie again. But I know she is a special person and God used her in my life through this painful time. She blessed me with her kind spirit and comforting words. As the day of the funeral came to an end, I felt uplifted. I felt great sadness that I had lost a friend, but at the same time I felt joy that I had found a new friend.

Thank You, Lord, for answering my prayers. Thank You for the peace and joy You have given me during this difficult time. What wonderful timing You have. It was a blessing for Christa to pray the sinner’s prayer and ask Jesus into her heart on the same day that we said goodbye to Angela. Thank You for bringing joy to my life on such a sorrowful day. And what a blessing to have met such a special person: Stephanie.

This is the end of my journal entry.

 

In 1996, I wrote several more journal entries, documenting the ways God brought comfort to me. I thanked Christ for the gift of Stephanie’s friendship in my life during the months after Angela’s death.

My daughter, Christa, was six years old at the time, so she didn’t attend the funeral or know how Angela died. However, her spirit was tuned into the presence of God in our lives during that trial. It was beautiful for Christa to accept Christ as her savior at such a painful time. I’m grateful for how the Lord orchestrated beauty during a tremendous loss.

God carried me through my grief even when I wasn’t dedicating much of my time to Him. During the time of Angela’s death, I was in the busiest season of my life. I was a busy mom, home-schooling a kindergartner, working as a nanny, and volunteering in the children’s department at my church. With so much responsibility, I sporadically wrote prayers in my journal and seemed to only pray when I was desperate. Even with my neglect of making time for solitude and prayer at that time, Christ was waiting for me with open arms and met me in my painful days.

I think some people miss out on the incredible goodness of God during times of loss, because they turn away from Him in anger or numbness instead of turning toward God with faith to believe that He is capable of bringing beauty into the broken places of life. We live in a broken, fallen world in which grief comes to us unexpectedly, but Jesus stays the same (Hebrews 13: 8).

With a recent and sudden death in my extended family, my heart is greatly empathizing with the ones most affected by the tragedy. I am comforted by knowing that it’s in the darkest seasons that beauty emerges from the ashes.

I’m not pretending to know the pain of others. I cannot fathom the pain of losing a child or a beloved spouse. And I cannot imagine the devastation a child experiences in the loss of a parent. Even though I have not experienced the depth of your pain, I know Christ has felt your heartache. He knows your grief. His love is enough to fill the void and heal the pain. As you face your grief courageously with Christ, He will carry you one moment at a time and lead you to eternal treasures.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and hope which we don’t deserve, comfort your hearts with all comfort, and help you in every good thing you say and do.”

— 2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17 (NLT)