On the same day this last week, one of my young cousins’ husband died and another dear friend was going through the year anniversary of her husband’s death. Having gone through the deep pain of a husband’s death almost 24 years ago, I knew some of what they were both facing. I so wanted to take away their pain, but I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t. Grief is one of the deepest parts of love—when our hearts wail out from having part of ourselves ripped away. When someone who was a very part of us has to leave, it is though we are critically wounded. There has to be a period of pain, recovery and healing where they were once so intermingled with our own soul. Though there is not much I can say or do to take that pain away; but I can love, pray and offer hope that one can heal and go forward on our own journey with You, Lord.
How wrong it would be of me to try to tell someone else not to feel the pain when there is no way around it. You did not even spare Jesus’ suffering, but turned it into good. How uncaring to not listen to their pain even if it might be uncomfortable for me. How thoughtless it would be to never mention their loved one’s name for fear it might cause them tears when they need to know others still remember their loved one. Let me never avoid a grieving person because of my own fear of what to say or do. Help me to simply stand by them, to offer a listening ear, to let them openly cry or laugh or voice any emotion—even if it seems irrational. Let me quietly let them go through their grief in their own personal way.
Father, there is no way any one single person can be there twenty-four hours a day as someone grieves for however long it takes. Life goes on and we all have to go on living. Yet I can gently keep pointing them to You—the one who never leaves us or forsakes us (even when those closest to us had to go.) Lord, through this intense suffering and personal loss, I pray they discover You in a new and more personal way than ever before. I know it happens through the heart-wrenching process of grieving. I am proof. Lord, I continue to pray that the books You helped me write (which are about to be released)—one for adults and one for children—will help others go through their personal journey of grief with hope as they look to You in the midst of their pain. Let them not fear as they hold Your hand as they travel through the shadow of the valley of death—for You are with them as they go through and find eternal hope and healing in You.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
“Then He (Jesus) said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.’ Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.’” Matthew 26:38-39
“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13b
Father, I pray for __________ who is grieving…