Posts Tagged With: Grief

From Sorrow to Comfort

Continued series on humility in relation to the Beatitudes

I have asserted the premise that humility is the foremost godly virtue required before any growth in Christ-likeness can be manifested. In fact, I don’t see how one could repent and be saved without first humbling themselves before God. There also appears to be the necessity of humbling ourselves associated with each of Christ’s commands. but this comes naturally when one receives a view of the One true omnipotent, infinite and sovereign God of the bible, and then compares self to Him. 

We’ve been gauging this assertion by recognizing the relationship between humility and the Christian qualities Jesus expounds in His manifesto on the mount in Matthew five—the Beatitudes. We now move to verse three. 

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  

 

Our knee-jerk responses gravitate towards the word “comfort” while the natural reaction of the flesh is repulsed by the notion of “mourning.”—that doesn’t sound so pleasant.  

 

Let’s think of comfort first. 

A softened comforter heaped playfully on a comfy bed. 

Ice cream and apple pie, chicken soup, biscuits and gravy, chocolate…comfort food. 

Late spring in a mountain meadow painted in wildflowers against an azure canopy.  

Relief from intense pain—there are many kinds of comfort. 

 

A sky full of fuzzy-type things may pass through our minds when we hear that word. One soul may go to thoughts of tender kisses from a beautiful woman with whom they’re deeply in love, her caresses. For another, it could be a bottle of booze—a self-perpetuating and unfulfilling pursuit. The human spirit will always seek to be comforted; with leisure, fulfillment of purpose, self-indulgences…there are myriads of them. The thing is, all of these offer an incomplete comfort, and as slight as that comfort may be, it’s always temporary. It does not last.   

 

Thank God for His comfort! I’ve tried a lot of different things and nothing comes close to the permanence of the comforts God lavishes upon those who seek Him with their whole hearts. There’s a world of joy that I never before knew existed, until I did. The Lord allowed me to go down a road of great hardship, suffering and grief. I lost everything, including my reputation. My good name was no longer so good. You can read a small sample about that at the following link.  Dancing With the Devil

How did I end up there? By seeking comfort, pleasure, relief from mental anguish, and doing whatever felt good. I was doing it my way—the way of, what the bible calls: “the natural man,” referring to our sinful nature. Food, worldly success, position, honor, sex, alcohol and a lot more, and finally opioid pain pills. None of that provided the comfort I sought. Oh, I felt good sometimes, but it was so very temporary, and it always left me needing more. Instead of scratching the itch, those things merely intensified my yearning for comfort. 

“Okay God, I’ll try it Your way,” I decided one day. But I thought Christians were supposed to be joyful, rather than weeping and mourning. Blessed are those who mourn? Then I read James 4: 9 and was really baffled. “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”  

While praying over this seeming contradiction to the Christian experience, the Lord taught me of its meaning and of the tremendous power that was available for me to finally receive the comfort and joy a Christian is supposed to experience. And it came through mourning, weeping and deep sadness—the very things I’d been trying to avoid. But what was I mourning over? Let’s read the verses preceding and following James 1;9, beginning with vs. 8.  

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and weep. Turn your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (lift you up).”  

I won’t go into a full exegesis of these verses here. 

Verse 8 is speaking of seeking God and repentance from sin. I cannot properly repent until I understand how deeply I’ve offended a holy God. When we finally receive a clear view of God’s nature of holiness and purity, we are greatly humbled and saddened over how far short we fall from His glory. My sin was truly something to cry about. I wept and wailed over my iniquities and transgressions, acknowledging how deeply egregious they are to God.  

When I did that, something amazing happened! He took my sorrow and grief over my own sin and He supernaturally transformed it into elation and joy! He forgave my sin, cleansed me, and lifted my spirit to soar with the clouds of heaven. It was the greatest joy I’d ever experienced, and it never left—it remains today.  

It took humility to really look at, and see myself from God’s perspective. It brought great sorrow, but that was essential in order to experience the true supernatural joy that comes from the Lord. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, God's Kingdom, Growing in Faith, Hard to be Humble, Self Improvement, Stuff God Teaches, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold Joy

Going through some old files, I stumbled on this little poem I wrote about wintertime. May it bless someone, as I share it below.

The continuation of the study on the Beatitudes with regard to humility, is forth coming. I just had a good friend pass away, placing unexpected demands upon my time, for now.

 

The following is my last tweet announcing the death of my friend, and my grief.

I need strength as I mourn the passing of a close friend who sat in my class at church. It’s things left undone that bring the sharpest pain. Yet, one of my last conversations with Jeff was about the great value of our friendship—I’m thankful for that. Prayers appreciated.”

Image result for beautiful winter scenes
Cold Joy
The hoary head of Old Man Winter
O’re my shoulder rises
His old gray eyes, the silver skies
His body, crystal white ice prizes
Perfect cleansing proffers he
To all outside their houses
Defecting ones, from coffers free
They froze to death their louses
Tis but a frame of reference
Icicles from the eaves
To free the mind to deference
The inner man to please
For one sees winter’s dismal gray
He hangs his head and mopes
Another sees with beauty gaze
The splendor of new hopes
For every kernel corn to sprout
What it was before must die
A senseless bane, your winter pout
I love those old gray eyes!
Categories: Friend's death, Nature, Poem, Poetry, Uncategorized, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When An Unsaved Loved One Dies

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The Lord has whispered in my heart concerning you, and His spirit urges me to pray, and to speak His truth into your difficulties which in turn brings strength and peace. In times like these we can go to our well of hope and strength to bask in the Lord’s glory. Suddenly, our burdens lift under the light of God’s wisdom and loving providence. John Piper offers good perspective for difficult times of grief and loss. He writes, “What we must keep our focus on is that God is just, God is good, and God does not do anything that we will not ultimately approve someday.”

The Lord has affirmed this truth to me in a personal way during a time of deep grief and loss.

 

One day we will look back upon all that was painful in our lives and nod in agreement with God. We will understand that He allowed the right thing to transpire at precisely right time, every time. I am glad that God is so big and mysterious. If I were to understand everything He does and all that He allows to happen, He might not seem quite so big and all knowing.  His infinite immensity is more than our imaginations can fathom. As we focus our thoughts upon God’s love, being absolutely convinced of His faithfulness to always do or allow what is best and good, we cling to the knowledge that we belong to Him. Doing so has often helped me to reconcile difficulties in my mind. Like the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and obey,”—It rings from the hearts of those who can say along with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

 

Genesis 18:25 is like the voice of a clarion proclaiming the righteous faithfulness of our majestic Holy One, saying “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” We can rest in the understanding that God will always do precisely what is right and best for His children. He is the only one qualified to judge because He is holy and pure, and He makes judgements on our behalf that display the grandeur of His delectable mercy. But He also has the paternal passion for you and I that elicits tsunami sized waves of compassion and comfort. Let’s lift our voices to our Heavenly Daddy saying, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

Go to Him, and rest in His loving arms while trusting that God knows all things and we do not. Trust Him.

 

When Christ returns and gathers you and I to be with Him forever, there will be no sorrow, pain, suffering or tears. This is His promise. How will He accomplish this? I don’t know—nobody does. But what we do know is that God is faithful to keep His word. He will keep all of His glorious promises to you. I know a lot of people, many of whom I do not believe to be saved. I love them, and my finite mind cannot reconcile how I will not be bothered in the least by the fact that they will be in hell while I am in bliss. But I trust God, and I know He can and will keep His promise to wipe every tear from our eyes. Never doubt His love. He has inscribed your name upon His palms. That’s what He said. Rest in the glorious warmth of God’s mighty love, He will comfort you.

In summary, the one thing that will salve our hurting hearts during times of grief and loss is faith in God. Personally, I can feel His love for you in my own heart as He confirms His words of promise that He’s given to us all. Hope is found in Christ Jesus and His love will comfort us.

 

Categories: Bible, Christian Living, Death of Unsaved, Faith, God's Faithfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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