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Devotional: August 25, 2021

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’

Matthew 5:4

‘The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.’

Psalm 34: 18

‘[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’

Revelation 21: 4

[All scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version]

My heart has been heavy with grief. I mourn those who have passed from this life to the next in our family, and our congregation. I grieve for those who are losing their lives, right now, in Afghanistan, and also closer to home. I am saddened for those who were crushed when the earthquake struck Haiti. I am concerned and sorrowful by the numbers of those who have lost their lives to Covid, and for those who are struggling to survive.

These three passages of scripture on grief are a small sampling of the Bible’s many verses about the subject. The sheer number of times grieving is mentioned in the scriptures shows us that everyone experiences this emotion, and also the importance God places on the subject. Mourning is part of being human. We feel sad over the loss of human life because we are created in the image of God. Ultimately, grief is an expression of our love.

However, the scriptures remind us that God does not leave us to grieve alone. He is not indifferent to our suffering. Rather, He is with us in our sadness. His presence alone offers us care and comfort. Jesus had great compassion and understanding of the impact of death. He wept when his dear friend Lazarus died. When we mourn, the Lord mourns with us.

Yet our Lord does more than mourn with us. He also offers us the promise of life after death: the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. Because of this firm and unshakeable hope, John when he wrote down his Revelation could proclaim “He will wipe every tear from our eyes…” Think of it: every single tear! This promise is one which may not be realized until we reach heaven, but it is a promise to us nonetheless. God will someday take away all of our tears…

May God bless all who grieve, and every person who mourns…. We claim Jesus’ reassuring promise that they will be comforted.

Prayer

God of all comfort,

May You bless all who mourn. Come alongside all who are saddened with grief and loneliness. Offer them Your reassurance that they do not grieve alone. Help me to be the gentle comforter to others, showing them Your tender love. Share with us once more Your promise of a love stronger than death: the hope of the resurrection to eternal life. We pray this prayer in the name who said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life”, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


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