Have you ever wondered if God truly understands your grief? When we are in the dark “valley of the shadow of death”, it can seem as though God is very far away. When the mists of grief and loss swirl around us, it becomes nearly impossible to hear God, or to see Him at work….or even think that He knows what we’re going through.

In the throes of grief, and carrying a broken heart, we tend to forget that God knows all. His very character incorporates Omniscience. If it’s knowable, He knows it! That means the heart of God is also grief-stricken as He watches me struggle with the pain of loss, and the darkness of death…. Because He knows all there is to know about it!

Hebrews 4:14-15 says: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.”  This verse tells us that Jesus fully experienced being human, including the grief and pain of loss. We also see this in John 11:34 where Jesus grieved over the death of his close friend, Lazarus.

I mentioned last week that we were created for life, and that death is an aberration of that purpose. God didn’t intend for us to experience death in any form. That’s why it hurts so much. Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  God truly understands our broken hearts and promises to draw near to comfort us when our spirits are crushed, and we have those meltdown moments.

God is certainly not indifferent to our grief! Jesus experienced it at the deepest level on the Cross when He cried, “Father, why have you forsaken me?!” Jesus knows that sense of loss and abandonment that we experience upon the death of our loved ones. And, truth be told, sometimes we ask that same question of the Father!

Yet, this same God who seems so far removed from our pain gives us a promise in II Corinthians 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Purpose for my grief? Yes, it’s true! Unless you experience it yourself, how can you turn and comfort those behind you?

When it seems as though God is nowhere to be found in our pain, there are some important things to remember. Not only does He promise to comfort us in the midst of it, but there are also some other ways He responds to it. First, Psalm 56:8 tells us that He keeps our tears in a bottle. Not one falls unnoticed, and none is lost. Our grief is always before Him. Second, He sympathizes with our weakness, according to Hebrews 4:15-16.

And the wonderful news is that one day He will do away with all death, pain, sorrow, and grieving! Isaiah 65:19 says, “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying.”

And best of all, Revelation 21:4 tells us: “…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Today you may be in that place of feeling distanced from or abandoned by God. You may feel like you’ve lost your way in the fog of grief. You may even be wondering if God remembers you or knows your pain. If this is you, we want to encourage you to look up! These responses are all normal expressions of grief, gifts that God has given to help you get through it. He is very nearby, and if you turn to Him with your sorrow, He will meet you at your lowest point…because He understands.

The final word today is “HOPE”! Yes, He understands the grief…so much so that He has planned for it to be completely gone one day in the not-too-distant future! Until that day, hang onto your faith and trust in the fact that He is the All-Knowing One who even has the hairs on your head numbered. A wonderful mentor of mine used to say, “When you don’t know what God is doing, fall back and trust in His character!” …a good word of wisdom to keep us moving ahead!

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