When the Burden of Grief Makes Gratitude Harder

Thank you for your prayers concerning the tragedy I wrote about in last week’s post. We appreciated it so much! Though Tad opens his eyes, he is not allowed company right now. All the nurse would tell our son is that he gets very agitated when he gets visitors, and that’s not good for him. So we don’t know too many details of his condition, but we are so afraid he will have some lasting brain damage. We continue to pray for his healing.

Yesterday morning was a funeral for a young husband and father, only 33 years old. Three small children, 5-year-old twin boys and a 3-year-old girl, will not grow up with their devoted dad. The wife is a granddaughter of the couple that live across the hall from us.

The day after my neighbor heard about the loss of a granddaughter’s husband, she had to take her husband to hospice because of cancer.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the suffering and death there is in this world? It’s hard, isn’t it?

I know some of you readers are personally dealing with the death of family or friends only recently and will be experiencing your first Thanksgiving and Christmas without them. It will be so difficult to have missing places among you. May God give you strength!

There are others of you whose loss I don’t know about, whether a loved one, a relationship, or a loss of who you really are.

Maybe you have no family to share these days with. Or your families are so dysfunctional that it devastates you and fills you with anxiety to get together.

Whatever your loss and however alone or misunderstood you may feel, I am so sorry. But infinitely more sorry than I am is our God who knows, cares, and understands. Even when grief clouds our vision and it’s hard to grasp that truth, it is still the truth. Even when life changes drastically for us, He never changes. He is faithful. Even if we sometimes have a hard time being grateful, we are still precious to Him and He will never leave us.

Someday when we can look back to the times of great sorrow, we will see one set of footprints in the sand. It was in those times that He carried us. Thank You, God, for Your unconditional love, Your never-ending compassion, and Your unchanging faithfulness!

“Because of the Lord’s
great love we are not consumed,

    for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I hope to be back here the first Tuesday of December.

Footprints In the Sand
by Leona Lewis

When We Lose a Young Life and We Ask God Why

“Why, Lord?” Why did You take such a young life away? One who could have continued to be a living witness of Your love?”

As my heart cried, this verse was God’s answer:

“You don’t understand now
what I am doing,
but someday you will.”

John 13:7

A couple of hours later, I found out our grandson, Kaden, had shared that same verse on Instagram.

It only takes a moment for life to drastically change. It was a heartbreaking week for many in our area last week. One evening a teen hit a patch of ice on the road, over-corrected, and rolled down an embankment, hitting a tree. His young life here ended. Only 15 years old. His 16-year-old friend is still in critical condition.

Both teens were in the same youth group as our grandson. Both lived out their faith.

Barry, the one who lost his life, is the only child his parents had. He will be remembered as someone who wanted nothing more than for others to feel welcomed, loved, and noticed.

Tad, the one who is critically injured, is Kaden’s close friend. They have played basketball together for several years. He did come off life support, but he remains in a coma from brain injuries. His body jerks and convulses, but he doesn’t respond.

Tad was 5 when his family immigrated from somewhere in Africa. Kaden said Tad gives whatever money he earns to help out his parents. He lives life passionately. His basketball coach said that last summer Tad missed some basketball practices, because he chose to go to a church camp instead. Even though he loves basketball, Tad says Jesus is still more important.

It’s so heartbreaking, isn’t it? Life is short. We never know what tomorrow will bring. We are but a mist that appears a moment and then vanishes the next.

We don’t understand why now, but someday God will give us light to understand, if not here, then hereafter.

Please pray for Barry’s and Tad’s devastated friends and families. And please pray Tad’s brain will completely heal. Thank you.

If you would like us to pray for a loss or heartache you have, feel free to share in the comments or you can email me in person. I know it’s hard to fix our eyes on Jesus in times when it feels like we’re drowning in grief, but Jesus knows what we’re going through. He cares so deeply and weeps with us. And someday there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.

“Jesus wept.”
John 11:35
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever
.”

Revelations 21:4

There Will Be a Day
by Jeremy Camp

“…But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always…”

Hanging Onto HOPE In This Chaotic World

“So God has given both His promise and His oath.
These two things are unchangeable
because it is impossible for God to lie.
Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge
can have great confidence
as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”

Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT

On February 3, 9-year-old Serenity Dennard walked out of The Black Hills Children’s Home Society, a private nonprofit that provides residential treatment and programs for children who are victims of domestic violence, abuse and neglect, or other trauma.

Dozens of people have searched for her for days, also using a helicopter and 7 scent and cadaver dog teams. Because of cold temps and snow, it turned into a recovery effort. But still no Serenity.

I keep praying, “God, please help them find her!” I keep checking up on the latest search news. But still no Serenity.

God, why won’t You answer the prayers of all the people who are praying? You know where she is. Help, Lord!

When something like this happens, I always think the worst. I fear someone who doesn’t have honorable intentions has picked her up. I’m so scared. Not only for Serenity, but for children who are missing everywhere. My heart aches for them and for their loved ones who must be agonizing on what has happened or is happening to their child, grandchild, etc.  

It’s hard not to get distressed or depressed when we know the evil that is happening in this world, whether openly or secretly, to vulnerable children and adults. So much pain and sorrow. So much hate and discrimination. So much abuse and injustice. It can wrench us to the depth of our souls. It can seem so hopeless and we can feel so helpless.

I have been upset with God, because I know He knows where Serenity is. I have been focusing too much on all that is happening in this chaotic world. I have listened too much to all the lies that Satan whispers, sometimes even without my realizing it, that all these things are far too big for God to handle. I have hung onto my pride that my plan is better than God’s. I have let it overwhelm me and I have refused to allow myself to unclench my fists of rebellion and give it all to Jesus.

In Psalm 42, David was taunted, too. He described himself as a deer panting for water brooks, hunted by its enemy. Day and night he wept for God’s help. His enemies scoffed, “Where is this God of yours?”

Two times in this Psalm, David cried out:

“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!”

Despite all the raging emotions in his heart and the taunting of his enemies, he pushed past all the discouragement that was drowning him and grasped onto the hope there is in God. He remembered his Savior, his Refuge, and his Promise-Keeper who never lies. He recalled how strong and trustworthy our Anchor of Hope is.

Yes, we live in a broken world where bad things happen. Where people choose to hurt people. Where Satan is still fighting to discourage us and keep us from our Anchor of Hope. But God is still in control. He is still the King, even though we don’t understand everything that happens.

Someday we will understand. Meanwhile, however much it hurts, may we together remember God knows and loves and cares. Nothing bad that ever happens will change that truth. Without that truth, we have no hope.

I Have This Hope
by Tenth Avenue North

“As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go…”