Good in grief? How is that even possible? How can that happen for me?Jun 22, 2020
We've all lost something or someone dear to us, and when we experience loss, we grieve. However, time will heal our hurting hearts, and while some may get stuck, many of us will get through it.
Here's what I know about grief, my own and those I've walked beside: many of us don't know we can expect something good to come out of our grief.
Listen to Jeremiah 31:13, "...I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." (NIV)
The Message Translation says, "I'll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy."
Amplified says: "For I will turn their mourning into joy, And will comfort them and make them rejoice after their sorrow."
God promises to give us:
- Gladness and laughter.
- Lavishing comfort.
Then, He says he will invade us with joy and make us rejoice.
I don't know about you, but not all my losses have ended like that.
Sure, after losing my Dad to cancer, we immediately felt the comfort of God. He surrounded us; he got us through the days, weeks, months, and years to come. And, yes, laughter did come as we reminisced over good times.
But this is only part of the divine exchange God is talking about here.
He is talking about abundance.
The abundance of gladness.
The abundance of laughter.
A joy that overwhelms.
Rejoicing that is forced on us by the sheer goodness of God.
Have you experienced rejoicing?
Then, Isaiah 61:3 says for those who grieve; He will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
Do you display HIS GLORY, His Splendor?
Did you come out stronger?
Do you now have deep roots planted in HIM that display his work?
Have you experienced beauty for your ashes?
Have you experienced the rejoicing - the beauty?
Have you experienced THAT from your losses?
What if you could?
Last week, after my post on this verse, a private message hit my inbox: "Honestly, that sounds so impossible; what am I missing? HOW can God do that for me?"
First, let me applaud her because she wanted something she didn't have, and she wanted to know:
"How do I get it?"
There is a gap when we see a promise from God and aren't living it. When we see the gap, God wants us to remind him of the promise he made for us and grab onto it.
For some promises, I've responded like a toddler snatching a toy, "THIS PROMISE IS MINE!"
For others, I've been a bit more diplomatic, "uh God, that thing you promised, well, I'm not seeing it, so...can we do something about that?"
Most of the time, though, I'm just honest, "God! What the heck?!"
Then, I met Graham Cooke, who challenged how I approached God's promises. He posed a question.
"What if you had an expectation?"
He means, what if you looked at your problem, obstacle, and losses, and then you just expected God to do what he said.
What if we look at our losses, what was just taken from us, and we have the expectancy for God to show up and show off.
Let's go back to Jeremiah 31:13.
What if we expect it?
Expect to rejoice.
When we expect the extravagance, the overwhelming goodness of God, we posture ourselves in a position of getting it.
Here's what I've learned in putting this into practice.
When we are watching for something, we are OPEN to receiving it.
When we sit with our hands open, we are READY to receive from the Lord.
When we are intentional about looking for it, then we FIND it.
When we align our expectation with what the Word says, and we expect God to be true to his promises, to show up in our losses the way both Jeremiah 31:13 & Isaiah 61:3 says he will, then he does because you are looking for him.
Your eyes are opened, and you begin to see the ways God shows up - the big and the small ways - because you expect it.
And that is HOW our hearts get overwhelmed with rejoicing because we SEE how he shows up, shows off, and comes through for us.
So when I'm asked, "Cherlyn, how can you say your layoff was the best thing that ever happened to you?" It is because, for 7 years, I have seen, over and over, all the ways God has provided for me, how he has brought purpose to my pain and healing to my heart, and how he has put me on a new path to help others.
If you aren't experiencing the promises of Jeremiah 31:13, let me encourage you... here's a secret... this promise doesn't have an expiration date.
We can look back and say, "God, I have a loss here, and I'm not walking in your promise for this one."
And we can expect God to show up for you too.
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