GRIEVING WITH HOPE
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth
into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable,
undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
(1 Peter 1:3-4)
On November 30, 2019, at age 29, my oldest son was called to join the cloud of witnesses who have gone ahead to be with Jesus. He lost his fight with muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure. Because God is faithful, I know my son is with Him, and I will see him again. One day, God will wipe away our tears and we will have joy as we’ve never known.
GRIEVING WITH HOPE IS A PROCESS
We may think that we should get over our grief quickly, but grief is something we have to work through and it cannot be rushed. It would be easy to let depression keep us down, but we can also lament our losses to God.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)
Give God your burdens
Though you fall, you won’t stay down
His strength sustains you
GRIEVING WITH HOPE: JOURNALING IN PSALMS
The Psalms are full of laments, which usually start with sorrow, but then turn around as the psalmist remembers all that God has done. The lament often ends with praise to God. A couple of weeks before we lost our son, I began using a new journal as I read through the Psalms. It would become a comfort in the early days after his death. Here is a page I made the morning after my son went to be with the Lord.
The death of his faithful ones is valuable in the Lord’s sight. (Psalm 116:15)
For this psalm to show up in my reading the morning after my son’s death had to be God’s perfect timing.
USING A JOURNAL
Using a journal is a good way to meditate on scripture and respond to it with your own thoughts. I highly recommend it. What you use for a journal doesn’t really matter. It can be fancy or just a simple notebook. It can even be a document on your computer, though I like the tangible reminder as I use different materials.
Here I’ve used washi tape and stickers to decorate and divide the page. Choosing which stickers and tape to use, then arranging them on the page is also a part of my devotional time. My creativity can be an act of worship, too.
POETRY HELPS IN GRIEVING WITH HOPE
My first journal ran out of pages on December 26. In my next one, I decided to begin writing a haiku each day based on the psalm reading scheduled for the day. Here is the first page of that new journal.
I’m sharing these with you because I would like to encourage you to not only turn to the Psalms for comfort but also to journal your own thoughts in response.
Maybe you could try writing your own haiku. You may say, “But I’m not a poet, I can’t do that.” Well, I would like to encourage you to try.
Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry originally about nature that can be written about any subject. The pattern is three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. I have included some of my own in this post.
WRITE YOUR OWN HAIKU
First, read a Psalm or other Scripture. Then pick out one or more verses that seem to stand out to you. Write the verses in your journal or just on a piece of paper. Take some time to meditate on the psalm, particularly on the verses you chose.
Write out your thoughts as they come to you. That writing can be the basis for your haiku. As you go over your thoughts, see if you can arrange them to fit the haiku pattern. I sometimes use a separate paper to write out my initial thoughts so I can have a finished haiku in my journal, but you might want to do it all right in your journal.
It’s okay if you don’t write a haiku. The purpose is to allow Scripture to speak to you and then to respond with your thoughts.
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before him. God is our refuge.
My soul rests in God
Only He can meet my needs
He hears my heart’s cry
In God I have hope
Because of Him I stand firm
He is trustworthy
GRIEVE AND MOURN, BUT ALWAYS HOPE
May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:22)
Let your faithful love
Come rest upon us always
Lord, we hope in you
As we grieve and mourn, let us also remember to encourage each other, to look for the joy in life no matter where we go, and to put our hope and trust in the God who loves us. If you create a poem, we would love for you to share it in the comments.
Questions For Reflection
1. How do you find comfort and hope when you are grieving? Do you acknowledge and feel your grief or try to ignore it or get over it quickly?
2. My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before him. God is our refuge. Selah. (Psalm 62:7-8) Would it help to journal your thoughts as you grieve, then pour out your heart to God?
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) When you do find comfort, how can you share the comfort you have received with others who are grieving?
Chronic Joy® Content Coordinator and Prayer Team
Gayl is a writer, poet, amateur photographer, artist, nature lover, crocheter, and seeker of truth and beauty. Besides having 7 kids and 14 grandkids (Some have chronic illnesses and one son is with Jesus), she and her husband Steve also hosted foreign exchange students. Gayl was a church pianist for years and homeschooled her children. She has published poems at Spillwords Press and an article in the book, Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. Her desire in life is to glorify God and encourage others. Check out her blog, Words, Photos, and Art.
Grieving & Hope Devotional
There are times in our lives to mourn and grieve, but it is so important not to lose hope. For those of us who know Jesus, we cling to an everlasting hope. Grief is something we must work through, and it cannot be rushed.