Sometimes – often when we least expect it – life throws a curve ball. Something happens that causes us deep sorrow and grief. Perhaps a loved one passed, or maybe a relationship that was meant to be for life ended, or some other significant loss was suffered. These types of events can leave us at a crossroads in our faith, and we are left to decide how to handle it.
Very early in my walk with Jesus, a woman at my church gave her testimony, and it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered, “Pay attention, Liz; you’re going to need to know this.” She talked about how an unforeseen tragedy hit her life and she was left with the choice to either lean into God or lean away from Him. Her story of leaning into God in her sorrow and the subsequent redemption that He brought really stuck with me.
A couple of years later, unforeseen tragedy hit my life also, and I remembered this lesson. I knew that I had to decide for myself whether to lean into God or to lean away from Him. Well, I had gone my own way for much of my life, and I already knew that that didn’t work well at all, so I chose to lean into God. I had no idea how God might redeem or restore what had been lost, but I knew that He promised to do just that. Still, I felt like the Psalmist who wrote, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” (Psalm 31:9) Or like Job, who said, “My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow.” (Job 17:7)
I didn’t know much Scripture at that time, but I did know Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” One night I was sobbing and crying out to Him, begging Him to be close to me and to save me. Suddenly, I felt a strange sensation. It was as if I could feel feathers touching my shoulders, pulling me to Him. Peace inexplicably settled over me. Comforted, I finally fell asleep and rested in His arms. It was the first decent night of sleep I’d had in weeks. Much later, I learned of this verse:
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
I truly believe that He sheltered me under His wings on that night.
Are you grieving today? If so, take comfort in knowing that Jesus understands exactly what you’re going through and how you are feeling. The Bible tells us that, “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isaiah 53:3 NLT) In both Matthew 26:38 and Mark 14:34, Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He knows what it is like to suffer that soul-crushing grief.
If that’s where you are today, I encourage you to choose to lean into Him, not away from Him. Take courage from the following verses:
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Psalm 119:28
You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Jeremiah 8:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
God promises to strengthen us and to comfort us, to bind up our wounds and to give us refuge in the midst of our sorrow and grief. You can pray those verses over yourself and ask Him to show you how He is moving in response to your prayers. In addition, feel free to leave a message in the comments below or to message me directly and I will be glad to pray for you!