When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Jesus Wept.John 11:33, 35
It’s shocking how quickly things have changed.
Not long ago our family made a plan to send our youngest daughter, a high school sophomore, to spend a weekend with her sister, a college freshman in a nearby state a few hours away by train. But on that Friday, the one we had anticipated would see the youngest daughter in route to visit her sister, instead found us renting a van and moving our middle girl back home.
I’m sure you have your own stories of unexpected change, like the canceling of well-planned trips or long hoped-for celebrations.
It’s a lot—not so much the changes themselves but rather the sheer number of changes and the speed at which they have come one after another that has been so unsettling.
And the fear, that too has been unsettling. I fear for my loved ones and myself.
What if one of us catches the virus? Will we receive adequate medical care? Will we recover? What about the economy? What if my loved ones, or my husband or I, are laid off? Will we be OK?
It all makes me want to weep.
Instead, I quickly search for the signs of hope in the middle of all the uncertainty, because facing all that has been so quickly taken, grieving the loss—that is uncomfortable.
In his book What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life, Brian Zahnd says, “To deny true sorrow is also to deny true joy.”
Sweet Friend, if you and I want to experience the fullness of the joy of the LORD, we must give ourselves permission to grieve, to feel uncomfortable, knowing that even Jesus wept.
In this devotional we will grieve, but we will not remain in grief. We will move through it in order to know fully the joy of the LORD that is our strength.
It is His strength that will carry us through the COVID-19 experience.
Be encouraged. We are not alone. Jesus took our pain and suffering, even this pain, upon Himself. He understands the emotions we are experiencing.
Isaiah 53:3-4 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Did you know that God collects all of your tears? Tears of sorrow. Tears of anger. Tears of joy. Take time to grieve the impact of COVID-19 on you and your family. Record the losses knowing that the God of the universe is grieving with you, collecting your tears, and noting each one in His book. Write down the ways in which He is strengthening and upholding you and your family.
Father, I know my tears matter to you, that you are attentive to the cries of my heart. Thank you for caring about my sorrow, for giving me permission to grieve and acknowledge the loss. Thank you for how you are strengthening and upholding us. This is hard, but You are good. Father, show me the way through this grief to greater joy in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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