We’ve all lost something or someone dear to us and when we experience loss we grieve. 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:
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 the loss of my Dad to cancer we immediately felt the comfort of God. He surrounded us, he got us through the days, weeks, months, and then 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.
Comfort that is extravagant.
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 which displays the work he has done?
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 weekly Word Drop on this verse, a private message hit my inbox, it read: “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?"
When we see a promise from God and we aren’t living it, there is a gap. When we see the gap God wants us to remind him of the promise that he made for us and grab on to 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 real, “God! What the heck?!”
Then, I met Graham Cooke, and he challenged the way I approach God’s promises. He posed a question.
“What if you had an expectation?”
He means, what if you looked at your problem, your obstacle, your losses, and then you just expected for God to do what he said.
What if we just look at our losses, what was just taken from us and we have expectancy for God to show up and show off.
Let’s go back to Jeremiah 31:13.
What if we expect it?
When we expect the extravagance, the overwhelming goodness of God then 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 RECEIVE it.
When we are sitting, with our hands open, then 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 ways and the small ways - because you are expecting it.
And that is HOW our hearts get overwhelmed with rejoicing, because we SEE how he shows up, shows off, how he 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. 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.
If you need help putting this into practice, coaching can help, we can do it together. Schedule time with me here: https://www.cherlyndecker.com/schedule
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Find that voice inside that responds to all your circumstances with confident boldness, that voice that sends packing all the doubts, fears, anxieties, and worries; and that voice that stops the chaos from spinning. How do you roar like that? Find out how in Cherlyn's new book Roar Back: Transforming Struggles Into Strength.