It’s hard to imagine going through grief without faith. Faith gives hope that there will be a better day. Faith gives comfort that you’re not alone and that Jesus is walking through it with you. Faith provides the loving embrace of Jesus in the times you need it the most.
Yet many people, even many “christians”, walk through grief on their own. Some without even knowing that they aren’t falling back on their faith, some without knowing what it means to have faith. It’s so difficult to feel completely alone when you’ve lost someone you love or received bad news about your health or some other major issue.
And I find myself on that crossroads.
I had a heart cath the other day that didn’t go quite as expected. I figured I’d get news about the doctor putting in some stents or needing some additional surgery, but what I got was news that there isn’t much that can be done. Just some aggressive medication management.
At first, I was pretty happy to hear that there wouldn’t be a need to cut me open any more than I already have been. But on the drive home from the hospital, it sank in. It hit me like a ton of bricks falling off of a skyscraper. The chest pain, the fatigue, everything that I’ve been feeling, there was no procedure that could help me with it. There was nothing that would really take it away and make me better.
I’ve sat around alternating between numb and hopelessly depressed the last day and a half, not sure of what to do or what to think. I’ve sat around and heard the whispers in my ear that God did this to me and if He loved me He could undo it. The gentle nudge to walk away from faith and instead rely on myself and my own devices. I’ve felt the tug to be angry at God.
Ultimately, it’s not His doing. I knew that I had high blood pressure when I was much younger and did nothing about it until my heart had almost completely failed. He presented me with the opportunity to get treatment long before it was an issue and I didn’t listen. Regardless of what the enemy wants me to think, God always has a plan. We can always speculate as to the ultimate end game of the plan, but we will never truly know, at least not while we are here in this life.
Sometimes, terrible things lead to great works in the name of God. Look at Joseph (the Old Testament one). His brothers had planned on killing him until his youngest brother begged them not to. They decided to sell him into slavery. I’m sure being a slave wasn’t easy, but eventually he made his way into a position of power in Potipher’s home. Potipher’s wife tried to seduce him and when she couldn’t, she claimed that Joseph had tried to attack her and he was locked up in prison.
During his time in prison he used his gift from God, the ability to interpret dreams. He interpreted the dreams of the royal baker and cup bearer and proved to be accurate. Some time later, he is in a position to interpret Pharoah’s dreams and he is placed as Pharoah’s right hand man, number 2 in all of Egypt. He has a plan to save the people from famine and help Pharaoh prosper as well.
Eventually, his brothers come to Egypt to buy grain to take home because they were hit by the famine as well. Joseph is actually happy to see them, but doesn’t tell them who he is. After several exchanges, he finally reveals himself to them and they are terrified of what he will do, but he tells them not to worry and “Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45:8)
Through all of his struggles, through his imprisonment and likely his grief of losing his family, Joseph was able to see that God placed him right where he needed to be, right when he needed to be there. His pain and suffering led to the salvation of countless lives that would have been lost to the famine, including the lives of his brothers who had wanted to kill him and sold him into slavery and his father. He was able to realize that God had a bigger plan than just his happiness.
I’ve been trying to look at that story and see Joseph’s faith. It really impresses me tremendously to see someone remain so positive and faithful after everything that he went through and I’m trying to do the same. The news that I received wasn’t a death sentence. It wasn’t an estimate of how long I may have left, rather just news that I will likely have some big struggles ahead. And I certainly need Jesus with me in those difficult times that I’m sure are coming in the days, months, years ahead.
I can remember a time when I didn’t have faith to fall back on while I grieved the passing of friends and loved ones. And I can remember just how hopeless it felt. Almost like there was no point in trying to feel better, just survive. Now that I’ve found my faith, I can’t let the enemy take it from me. This is when I need it the most. This is when I can see Jesus in my life, more than any other time. When I’m struggling, I know that He is there with me. He won’t let me walk it alone. He won’t let me be alone in my grief. He is there with me each step of the way and will always bring me the comfort and peace that only He can.
Even though there are billions of people in this world grieving and hurting, it seems almost impossible for them to really connect with each other. You may have someone that you love that you can go to, someone to be there with you and help you, but no-one will really understand the pain of your grief like Jesus. And no one can heal your grief except Jesus.
1 My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
2 When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]
3 His oath, his covenant, his blood,
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]
4 When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found:
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]
Those are the lyrics to an old hymn, My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less. Just a reminder that we are to look to Jesus in both good times and bad times. He is the solid rock that makes up our foundation and keeps our house from sinking into the sand. We can count on him no matter what life throws our way, no matter how bad the storms may seem, no matter how difficult this life becomes.
I pray that you are comforted by the fact the Jesus is with you, always. I pray that you allow Jesus to walk with you and hold you up when you feel like you can’t do it yourself anymore. I pray that you can have the faith of Joseph and know that God has a plan and you are a part of it, even when it seems like He has abandoned you. I pray that you know that He will never abandon you and that you are His child whom He loves more than you could ever know. I pray that you are able to stand on the Christ, the Solid Rock through the storms of life.