Psalm 34:17-19 reads: "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." What precious words to read for this is just what we as a family have done on a daily basis. We have cried out to God and He has heard us. He is slowly mending our broken hearts and saving our crushed spirits.
Among the "mercy drops" (I wrote about this in an earlier post on this blog) which God has given to us are the many who have stopped and shared their stories with us. A retired fire fighter stopped by our office the other day. He had lost his wife a few years ago, and he was sorry to hear about our grandson. He shook my hand and told me that now Branson and his wife can play together in heaven and enjoy freedom from any problems. What kind words that seemed to soothe my soul! Then, there have been dear friends who have told me stories of their losses and how the Lord helped them through the difficult days. Still another friend gives me a hug every Sunday and never fails to encourage me with her smile. Are these not the rich blessings from God that let us know He is near?
As scripture tells us, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). God is good, He is faithful, and He does not change. This is what all grieving hearts need to know, and while we do not see God, we encounter His love through other believers that bathe us in prayer and encouragement.
Of all the places that I have found the greatest comfort is in reading His Word more fervently than ever before. Daily, I come hungry to feed on His Word and find strength for the day. His Word is truth and I need a lot of that just now. The Bible teaches us that if we draw near to God He will draw near to us and that is just what we need at times like these.
Not only have we had the privilege of learning the stories that others share in our community but today, we also had the privilege of listening to a Bible series taught by Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. who works alongside his father at Ligonier Ministries. He has begun a series entitled "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God". A couple of years ago, Dr. Sproul, Jr. lost his wife of twenty some years. She had fought the battle of cancer three times, but the last time the Lord took her home with Him. Then, just 9 months ago, one of his eight children was taken home to be with the Lord as well. She was a fifteen year old special needs child with Lissencephaly. Dr. Sproul, Jr. indicated that they knew from the start that her life expectancy would not be great, but every day they had with her was joy. Now he had lost two loves in his life, but he found the most meaningful help in God's Word and encouraged all who have experienced loss to find their strength in the Bible which is the foundation for our faith. He said that we can live in our emotions or we can learn to trust more deeply in God. I found his words profound and comforting. It was just what we needed at this time. Another "mercy drop" from God the Father for our day. ( Anyone can go to Ligonier Ministries to download this podcast series).
Finally, on this faith walk our family is taking, I am learning that we need to receive God's healing for our broken hearts. We can resist His efforts to heal us by never allowing the comfort He sends to penetrate our thinking. God's Word tells us in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." When I meditate on all the happy moments, achievements, smiles and joy that our grandson brought to us, my heart is lifted knowing I will see him again. However, if I dwell on the loss and the pain and shut out the encouragement of those around me, I am choking off the means by which God can save my crushed spirit. I guess the question is the same as Jesus asked the man by the Pool of Bethsaida. Do you want to be healed? (John 5:16). So we have to ask ourselves this question. God is able and willing if we let go of our pain. It may not be overnight, but it will come in steps. When the process of healing is complete, we will be able to offer comfort to others with the comfort with which God has brought us comfort (2 Corinthians 4:2).
Life is a journey and when we walk with the Lord close by our side, we can face the troubles of this world. We need to look for His "mercy drops" daily, cling to His Word, and allow Him to heal us. Then, we will be restored and strengthened to help others in need and bring glory to His name. Selah!