Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in America and this is the time when families gather and give thanks for everything. For years, this was me, but this year is different. This is the first year that I am going through grief from the death of my Dad, this summer. It is the first Thanksgiving without him. Many face multiple facets during the Holidays because of one thing, pain. To some, they may be hurting from a physical issue. Others suffer from loss, due to grief and having gone through the funeral of a loved one. Yet some, feel the anxiety, stress and isolation that is a result of pain from the past. We can all relate to pain, but I am going to reveal to you, the Prince of Peace.
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, an no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
I had not gone through grief like this, until my Dad passed away. It is definitely more intense than my past experiences with death because this was a very close relationship. As a Caregiver, I went through seeing my Dad decline, while he was in Hospice. Watching my Dad die slowly was a very intense experience and since his death, I have been battling with this thing called grief. As a Christian, I have the hope of God that assures me that I will see my Dad again one day and be reunited in Heaven, according to John 16:22. Still, I am going through triggers throughout my days. I have days that I will burst into tears because of a beautiful memory or a memory of his suffering and other times, it will be due to words said by others. It’s very real, but so is God. I am comforted in knowing that Jesus, Himself if well acquainted with grief. He too grieved the death of loved ones in scripture. He felt that blow of being physically separated from someone, suddenly and seeing the sorrow of others, as well as feeling His own sorrow. If you are a Christian, be comforted in knowing that you have a Savior that is absolutely aware of what you are going through. If Jesus is not your Savior, consider what the Bible states in it’s smallest verse found in John 11:35, which reads, “He wept.” The Greek word used here is Ἐδάκρυσεν meaning “to shed tears, to weep”(Bible Hub). It indicates that it is not a form of wailing aloud, but a deep sorrow, having slow falling tears. This reveals the compassion Jesus felt and showed as He cried Human tears, yet as God knew the grief others were facing, around Him. He also knows every tear that you have shed. Every tear has been taken into account because He knows all things.
“The lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18
The word crushed is defined as, “to press something very hard so that it is broken or its shape is destroyed” (Cambridge Dictionary). Wow! Does that not define what a person feels like when they have gone through the death of a loved one, or what?! When we go through a serious loss, whether it is through death, divorce or the end of a serious relationship, we definitely feel “crushed in spirit” as Psalms 34:18 suggests. The person you were before this happened, was a different person. The person you are now, has been broken. Psalms 34:18 is telling us that God is near to those that are crushed in spirit. That is SO comforting to know! When all others or circumstances are not there for you, God is! The good news is that God doesn’t”t want to leave you in that state, one of His specialities is restoration.
“So hagar gave this name to the lord who had spoken to her: “you are the god who sees me,” for she said, “here i have seen the one who sees me!” Genesis 16:13
The god who sees me
Hagar was an Egyptian slave girl that was bought by Abraham and Sara in scripture. She had suffered much loss in her short, young life. She had been sold into slavery, lost her family, lost her identity and was now kicked out by her Master into the wilderness, while being pregnant with his child! She was absolutely broken and crushed in spirit. She had no where to go and no one to turn to. Here, at her lowest moment, we see that God appeared to Hagar. This is huge because Hagar was not an Israelite, but a gentile (an outsider). Yet, God cared deeply for Hagar and saw everything she was going through. He appeared to her in her darkest and lowest moment, in life. He told her what she needed to do, not what she wanted to hear or wanted to do. In return, she built an altar for God and confessed that she had seen the ONLY one that had seen her. The Hebrew phrase for “the One who sees me” is the Hebrew רֹאִֽי׃, or el-roi (Strongs, 7200). It not only suggests a visual view point, but I believe it suggests what we would say when using the adage of “He saw right through me.” God saw her physical state of suffering and also her spiritual and emotional side. He sees yours too. We are made in His image, which indicates that like God, we too are physical, emotional and spiritual beings. When we go through intense pain and suffering, we also need to heal physically, spiritually and emotionally. What a blessing to know that God is the God who heals intensely.
“the spirit of the lord god is on me, because the lord has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the lord’s favor, and the day of our god’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn,” Isaiah 61:1-2
Healing and comfort
This verse in Isaiah is packed with so much information, but it speaks to the ones in need of healing and comfort. Jesus is proclaiming that He was given a mission to preach the Gospel to the poor. The word Gospel means “good news.” If Jesus is not your Savior, you won’t get it, what good news? Is it only for the poor? Here, the word “poor” is referring to anyone that doesn’t have Jesus as their Savior, they are considered to be the poor (in spirit). The good news that there is salvation from Hell and that this salvation is through Jesus, alone. He came to save people from ending up in Hell and instead, to end up in Heaven with Him for all eternity. He also came to heal the brokenhearted. He came to proclaim liberty from sin, which is what separates us from God and salvation. Jesus is that liberty and we gain the freedom from the prison of suffering. It is not speaking of suffering that we endure on this Earth, which is difficult too, but it is speaking of eternal suffering due to being separated eternally from God, in Hell. Jesus was sent to let everyone know that God will take vengeance over every wrongful thing that has ever happened. Jesus is also here to comfort those that mourn because of death. This is exactly WHY Jesus came! He came to conquer death and He accomplished that when He rose from the dead. No one else (since His death on the cross) has risen from the dead. Jesus didn’t just have one reason to love, He had many. I hope that no matter the type of loss you have suffered or pain you feel this Thanksgiving season, that you may find comfort in the only one that can give it, that’s solely in Jesus. God has seen you at your darkest moment and nothing escapes His sight. Give your pain to Him and let the healing begin.