Exchange Your Grief for Joy

by

My maternal grandfather died of cancer on December 1, 1991. My paternal grandfather died of cancer on December 1, 2002. Eleven years apart, but on the same day, and right before Christmas.

Those Christmases were especially hard for my parents and my family, but even now, every year at Christmas, I think of my grandfathers and others that I’ve lost.

This side of eternity, grief is a reality. If you live long at all, you will experience grief and pain and loss. Welcome to life on earth.

Our normal plan for dealing with our grief is to wait silently.

  • We deny our losses.
  • We delay our pain.
  • We distract ourselves.

God’s plan for our grief is to talk to him about it.

  • To acknowledge the reality of our pain. Grief is actually a gift.
  • To tell him about our pain and losses.
  • To hear from him about his comfort.

David wrote Psalm 30 as a song for the dedication of the temple, and he again bares his heart before God and reflects on his own life experiences…

Remember that David had lost his best friend, Jonathan; his mentor, Samuel; his first wife, Michal’s, affection; the first baby that he had with Bathsheba; and much more…

Psalm 30:1-12 NRSV

[1] I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me. [2] O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. [3] O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

[4] Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. [5] For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

[6] As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” [7] By your favor, O LORD, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

[8] To you, O LORD, I cried, and to the LORD I made supplication: [9] “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? [10] Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me! O LORD, be my helper!”

[11] You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, [12] so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

When you give God your grief, God gives you his joy.

That’s the deal he has promised. And it’s incredibly one-sided…

Isaiah 53:3 NRSV

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.

1. God comforts us NOW by reminding us that he has walked through grief himself and is willing to walk through it with us.

2. God comforts us LATER by removing every reason for grieving for all of eternity.

Revelation 21:1 NRSV

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

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