Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

New Hope (Part 1) – Day 13

New hope ... in times of grieving and loss

Bible text(s)

5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

Hebrews 13:5GNBOpen in Bible reader

4Happy are those who mourn;

God will comfort them!

Matthew 5:4GNBOpen in Bible reader

18The LORD is near to those who are discouraged;

he saves those who have lost all hope.

Psalms 34:18GNBOpen in Bible reader

4He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.”

Revelation 21:4GNBOpen in Bible reader

At the beginning of the year, I spoke with a woman whose beauty and sparkling personality I always admire. This time, however, her spark was gone and I wondered what was wrong. I was shocked to hear that she had lost her son, shortly before Christmas, in a car accident. He had written his matric exams and she had to bury him on the day that the examination results were announced. While tears flowed down her cheeks, I stood speechless with shock before her. What do I tell someone who would never be able to hug her son again?

A day later, I received an e-mail from a reader sharing how she, a 30-year-old woman, arrived home to find her 38-year-old husband’s body at home. He died of a blood clot through his heart. Her words at the end of her e-mail touched me deeply: “My best friend, with whom I was married for ten years, is suddenly snatched from me and I desperately need hope to continue with my life. Please help!”

When someone dies, there are always two categories of people. Those who are left behind, trying to cope with the pain of their loss, and the second group trying to support and comfort the first-named group, but they are not sure of the right way to do it.

For those left behind: It is normal to experience emotions of shock, anger, denial and to ask millions of questions. Also, it is normal to cry yourself to sleep, to not want to get out of bed some mornings and to wonder if the pain in your heart will ever get better.
Healing takes time, but the mourning process is of utmost importance. Therefore, give yourself and others time to heal, but beware not to become bitter. Ask God to help you not to lose focus of what you still have, by constantly focusing on what you have lost.

And remember, he is closer to you than it feels. When your heart aches, his aches too. In Hebrews 13:5, God says: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” In Matthew 5:4 we read: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And in Psalm 34:18 the psalmist reminds us: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Even if you can only utter the word “Jesus” through your tears, do it. He understands your emotions as he too was overwhelmed, when standing next to his friend Lazarus’s grave. This is why he voluntarily gave up his life for us, in order for us to receive the Holy Spirit our Comforter, who daily sustains us through our challenges and pain!

For those who want to help: The Jewish culture has a practice known as “sitting shiva”. When someone lost a loved one, you will go to that person’s house. Instead of giving advice, you will remain silent. You simply sit with that person. If he or she wants to talk, you talk back, but it’s your silent presence that supports and heals.
Also, instead of constantly asking them to let you know if there is anything they need, you scan for needs and meet it. For example, if the grass needs to be cut, you arrange for it to be done. If there is no food in the house, you take food to them. And if the house should be cleaned, you do it or get someone to do it.
Also, never forget the power of your prayers for that family. It lifts them and helps them to not lose perspective in the worst time of their lives.

Even though the current hurt and pain seems overwhelming, remember that it is temporary. In Revelation 21:4 we read: “… and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” May you experience God’s power and presence in a mighty way today, knowing that he will never leave you, nor forsake you! God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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