“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
We worship God when we grieve upward in hope.
For the Christian, death brings a mixture of sorrow and joy. We have joy because our loved one is finally home. They are where they were created to be. We have sorrow because we are still in a strange land and must walk this journey without them. We are happy for them … genuinely happy. But we are sad for us … groaningly sad. Like most believers, I am more comfortable with the joy part of that mix. It feels more “Christian” to rejoice than it does to lament. Yet God’s Word reminds me that both lament and thanksgiving are born by faith and received by God as acts of worship.
When my dad died, my grief often did not follow the logical pattern that I thought it would. I expected to have a time of tears followed by the sunshine of a new day. I anticipated that my dark mourning would become bright morning. What happened surprised me. Often a wave of grief would suddenly crash against my soul. Tears would roll down my eyes at the most unexpected and inconvenient moments. I felt guilty that I did not have more spiritual strength to control my emotions. Just as often, a deep abiding calm and peace would guard my heart. In those moments, I felt guilty that I was not feeling more sadness. I thought, “If I REALLY loved him, would I have such peace?”
This long season of erratic emotion taught me that I am not in control of my feelings. God would have his way in directing various waves to my shore. Faith in Christ does not cancel our grief, but faith does anchor us in the storm of grief. We refuse to grieve downward as those who have no hope. When the darkness crashes against us, we look up to the God whose faithfulness is great.
True worship and trembling grief are not in conflict. Worship looks and feels different when waves of grief overcome us. But we worship when we look to God in our hurt and say, “God, I am hurting. I need you. I am confused. I wish I had not experienced this terrible loss. But I need you. I trust your mercies to supply what I need.” The LORD is our portion, therefore we have hope!!
- What promises of God help you to grieve upward in hope?
- When are we tempted to believe that God’s steadfast love has ceased?
- What does it mean that God’s mercies are new every morning?
- What might it look like for you to express trust in God’s mercies for today?
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1