Hope in the Grieving
by Sarah Fletcher
Prayer Center Manager, CBN Europe
Why God? Where were you? Why didn’t you come?
Ever screamed such words at God? I know I have! I yelled at God when Debbie drew her last breath. Debbie was my big sister, but she lost her fight with life at the age of 34. I was just 23 at the time with too many questions and not nearly enough answers!
Where was God? Why didn’t he heal her and set her free? Why didn’t he rescue her?
In my many questions, my perspective of God’s goodness became a little tainted. I began to believe the lie that God wasn’t good, that He hadn’t heard me and that He had failed both me and my sister. Yet amid the struggle, God never let go of my hurting, broken heart. The more I wrestled with Him, the more I understood that God had indeed answered my every prayer…just not the way I had expected!
God is not offended by our questions or our angered frustrations. He Himself was a man of sorrows; acquainted with grief. As I walked through this shadowing valley, I came to realise that Jesus had understood my every thought, feeling and frustration. He once watched His own Son walk this walk before me, but He can also see the bigger picture ahead. It was not the immediate moment that impelled Jesus to walk to the cross, but rather the joy that was set before him. It was a future perspective that meant he could endure all the pain at Calvary.
That joy was you, me and my sister Debbie at the other side of the cross; a secured eternity for each and all of us to one day be seated with Him in Heavenly places! A hope of what is to come.
I began to see a glimpse of God’s bigger picture. Through my tears, I searched for the answers to my many questions. God encouraged my broken heart and realigned some of my ‘dodgy’ perspectives through the truths of His Word. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) says;
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is seen is eternal.”
Please understand that nothing about burying my sister was ‘light’ and ‘momentary’, but reading this truth renewed my hope. God had answered my every prayer.
God encouraged my broken heart and realigned some of my ‘dodgy’ perspectives through the truths of His Word
Outwardly Debbie really was wasting away, in every sense of the word, but when Jesus released her from her torment and suffering, she was instantly and inwardly renewed. She was in a place where every tear was wiped from her eyes; a place where there was “no more death or mourning or crying or pain”. (Revelation 21:4 – NIV)
This was the living hope that flooded my heart and soul; an eternal assurance that one day I would see her again in our Father’s House!
I suddenly understood that God did come when I called!
Yes, God could have healed my sister and restored her ‘my way’ but He didn’t. Now she is wholly and completely free! My best hope for her could never have achieved this, but God’s hope at work in her life and death, did.
This living hope at work in a devastating situation not only paved the way for her rescue but also my salvation. God’s kindness and grace know no bounds! It is absolutely true that God works everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).
The presence of God is not the absence of heartache and struggle in our lives. But if we allow the living hope of Jesus Christ to anchor our hearts and souls, then we can live in complete assurance that any physical end is not an eternal one!
Through any valley of death that we should walk, be encouraged that Jesus has gone ahead of us. His rod and His staff will comfort us. But how? How can 2 pieces of wood bring any comfort in such a time of anguish?
Well…two pieces of wood once stood on a hill at the top of another valley so that you and I could pass from death to life. The Cross of Jesus Christ will never lose its power, even in the midst of any grief or loss.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” – Hebrews 6:19 – (NIV)
It is through the Cross that Hope was made manifest. Through Jesus we can know God’s eternal comfort and peace; a living hope in the face of death and a light in the darkest of times.
If you are struggling with grief and would like someone to pray with, call our Prayer Center Team on 0300 561 0700 or submit a prayer request here.