“Grief is such a weird, uncontrollable beast. You never know when or where or how it’s going to pop up and demand its due.”
Rev leaned over the upstairs banister and read those words to me the other night from A Dream So Big, by Steve Peifer.
As he shared the words above, tears dripped down my cheeks. He didn’t know that grief had popped up for me a little while earlier.
Grief is like that, isn’t it? You never know when a photo, a word, a smell, or just a simple thought will take you back to the pain.
2 Important Things You Need to Know about Grief
1. God is with you. He will comfort you.
You are not alone.
When grief hit me the other night, I immediately turned to prayer. I asked the Lord to cover me with His peace as He has done in the past. To help me focus on my blessings, not on my losses. And to defeat the lies the enemy speaks when my heart is hurting.
And I turned to His promises.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
As I breathed out prayer and breathed in the Word, I felt God’s peace begin to wash over me.
One problem with grief is the fear that the intense pain will last forever. That we will spend the rest of our lives feeling empty and broken. It’s one of the enemy’s favorite lies.
Although grief still grabs me at times, God’s loving comfort is more powerful than my pain. He takes my grief and gives me comfort and purpose.
2. God is able to turn your grief into purpose.
As Rev and I talked about grief the other night, he shared more of the story from A Dream So Big:
Steve Peifer, a corporate manager who once oversaw 9,000 computer software consultants, today helps provide daily lunches for over 20,000 Kenyan school children in thirty-five national public schools and maintains solar-powered computer labs at twenty rural African schools.
Steve and his wife, Nancy, were enjoying a successful management career with one of America’s high tech corporate giants during the dot-com boom of the 1990’s when, in 1997, he and his wife Nancy discovered they were pregnant with their third child. Tragically, doctors said a chromosomal condition left their baby “incompatible with life.” The Peifers only spent 8 days with baby Stephen before he died.
Seeking to flee the pain, Steve and Nancy began a pilgrimage that thrust them into a third-world setting where daily life was often defined by tragedy—drought, disease, poverty, hunger, and death. They didn’t arrive in the service of any divine calling, but the truth of their surroundings spoke to their troubled hearts. A short-term, 12-month mission assignment as dorm parents for a Kenyan boarding school turned this ordinary man into the most unlikely internationally recognized hero, and his story will inspire you to pursue similar lives of service.
What began as a short-term mission assignment as dorm parents for a Kenyan boarding school turned into a passion for using their gifts to bless and change lives.
God can use your grief and create something good and beautiful.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
It always grabs my heart and my attention when I think of the ways God is able to use life’s tragedies to create something good and beautiful.
I don’t begin to understand why He allows some of the pain we experience. I remember pleading with Him to spare us. You may remember something similar. Now, years later, I would still prefer to have been spared . . . but I know God used it for good. He changed my heart and gave purpose to my message.
What the enemy intended for evil God used for good.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4
One more thing.
It’s easy for us to blame God for things He allows. I get it. It’s hard to understand how a good and loving God can allow His children to suffer and die.
God allowed Joseph to experience years of slavery and imprisonment and made him a leader in Egypt.
He allowed David to be hated and hunted by Saul and made him king.
He allowed Paul to suffer beatings, shipwrecks, and a “thorn in the flesh” and used him to bring salvation to generations of people.
And He allowed His Son to suffer and die and He saved people like you and me.
There are many things I don’t understand but through faith, I believe, I know . . . when God allows pain He is able to use it bless His people.
And I know when grief “pops up and demands its due,” God is with me, comforts me, and gives me purpose. He is a loving and good Father.
If you are in a season of intense grief please know I’m sorry and I’m praying for you.
“No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you.” ~Franklin Graham
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