“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I begin each morning with this biblical affirmation from Psalm 118, along with some other proven favorites, and then move into my devotion time. Before Paul went to heaven, these words would slide off my tongue with confidence. Lately, they sometimes want to stick in my throat like a too-large chunk of bread that just won’t go down.
The emotions resulting from loss of any kind, but especially of a loved one, are unpredictable and deceiving. When we think they are receding into the background of our consciousness, they creep up on us and suddenly plunge a dagger into our stomach, leaving us reeling. They sap our strength and assault our thoughts as we desperately search for perspective and order in a life that is forever changed.
This morning, as I read from one of my devotionals, I was reminded that “it is through our trials and afflictions that God gives us fresh revelations of Himself.”1 But the pain of the loss is unwelcome and my mind and body want to run for cover. Yet Paul says in Philippians 3:10 that he so wanted to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, that he was willing participate in His sufferings and be conformed to His death. I need this resurrection power, now more than ever, in order to walk through this period of my life.
So I speak the words that open the door of my day, words that hold a promise of hope and peace. Jesus assures us in Hebrews 4:16 that we can come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. As we experience our brand of suffering and yet are willing to give Him our sacrifice of praise, He scoops us up, holds us close, and soothes our pain.
1 Nathaniel William Taylor in Streams in the Desert
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