I think it's safe to say that I have never experienced real grief until this year. For most of my life, grief hasn't been an emotion I've had to deal with very much. But, over the past few months; I've been experiencing it in abundance.
Grief is a powerful emotion. It affects the you on every level - physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. I never knew how much it could literally seep into every area of your life and transform each one.
But, I've also been learning that grief is a gift from God. Never in my life have I've fallen so far into the pit but never before have I had to be so dependent on God to pick me up. Now, don't get me wrong, I have good days and bad. Some days I wallow in the pit of self-pity and some days I actually allow God to come in and work His miracles in my life. It is a daily process and a conscious decision I have to make every day.
During this time, I have started to identify more closely with the prophet Jeremiah. Of course my life is not anywhere near as hard as his was, but his words, especially in the book of Lamentations, have spoken to me in profound ways the last few months. In chapter 3 of that book, he spends a good portion of the chapter expressing his deep sadness and grief over the state of his life and ministry.
"So I say, “My splendor is gone
and my soul is downcast within me." Lamentation 3:18-20 (NIV)
But, the instant he realizes he is in the deepest darkest pit is also the instant he remembers the faithfulness and mercies of God. As I read and study verses 21-23, I can't help but cry tears of hope and thankfulness. Oh, what a great God who loves us and is faithful ALL the time, no matter our circumstances. I pray you will be encouraged and blessed by these words as well, no matter the size of the pit you find yourself in today.
"Yet this I call to mind
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentation 3:21-23 (NIV)