A year ago yesterday, a man with a smile as bright as I have ever seen, the most contagious laugh, and the biggest heart, made his way into Heaven after fighting a brave, hard battle against the enemy that is stage four cancer. Life without my grandfather has been difficult. There have been nights in which tears have soaked my pillowcase and days in which I cannot help but wonder about who he would be today. Maybe, like me, you are walking in the in-between space – the place where deep grief dances with great grace. As the two entangle with one another, it has become evident that hardship and hope can, and often do, go hand in hand.
There was a time in my life, not too long ago, when I despised the grieving process. I was not a fan. If it were up to me, grief could leave and I would usher it out without a second thought. It took some time for me to see the lessons that it taught. If, like me, you have struggled to see that amid hard things, hope can be found, I want to encourage you that hope is still here – even now.
You see, my friend, hope has a name, and His name is Jesus. By the power of His precious blood, we can live in freedom. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – even when we are among the grieving. We are loved, held, and treasured by the one who knit us together. If you are in need of hope today, I pray that you would find it – not in the words that I speak or write – but in the one who gives us life.
Sadness is temporary. Gladness is eternal.
The first lesson that I have learned since becoming closely acquainted with grief over the last year is this: sadness is temporary. Gladness is eternal. In John 16, Jesus is preparing His disciples for his crucifixion. In verse 33, He gives a comforting reminder to His disciples when He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” When Jesus died the most excruciating death of all time on the cross, He did so with us in mind. He suffered the wrath of God, bore the weight of our sins, and took them upon Himself, so that we, as believers, would have the ability to come into fellowship with the Lord. There is no doubt in my mind that the disciples were crushed in spirit and broken-hearted beyond belief when Jesus was taken from them by way of crucifixion. However, they knew deep within their hearts that their grief would not last. They held on to a deeply rooted, firm, and unwavering faith in what they knew to be true. Jesus had overcome the world. With that, He overcame sickness, sin, and death.
Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, you and I also have hope. Our hope is described as the anchor for the soul in Hebrews 6:19. In ancient times, the anchor was considered a symbol of safety. In other words, we have hope because our souls rest safely in the promises of God’s word. It is a promise worth holding on to that our sadness will give way to joy when we reach Heaven’s shores. Our earthly sadness will soon turn to eternal gladness.
Grief is an outpouring of incredible love.
An equally important lesson learned from my journey with grief is that it should not be viewed as a hindrance to a full life, but as an outpouring of love for the ones that we have lost. When my perspective shifted, I made room for grief and gladness and began to let my grief draw me closer to Jesus. If you are walking down the road of grief today, I want to encourage you to embrace the season that you are in. Allow God to use your grief for His glory. He will fill you with hope and walk the difficult journey alongside you.
Grief and hope can co-exist. Carry them both in the same two hands.
The final lesson that I will share today is perhaps the most difficult to embrace, but the one that has helped me the most, personally. It is important to remember that grief and hope can co-exist. Together, they shape the perspective that we carry with us. Each of us, no matter how long we have been walking through life, carry with us a certain amount of grief. Whether we are grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of an opportunity, we can allow God to use these losses. As part of our story, these losses have an immense impact both on us and on the Kingdom of Heaven- grief and hope can co-exist. Carry them both in the same two hands.
I pray that this post has been an encouragement to you and that it has shown you that Jesus is ever present during the hardships that we walk through in our lives. As God’s children, we are always under His care and attention. He is a God of healing and restoration. One day, grief will be no more and we will experience eternal joy.