Led to Hope

It is a popular belief that a soul in mourning should be at liberty, free to express itself, free to explore thoughts, emotions and desires without restraint. In a “you-do-you” world, it seems the only rule placed on those grieving is “thou shall not have rules.” Cry. Scream. Kick. Hide. Rage. Blame. Avoid. Vent. Take the journey of grief and let the waves of sorrow toss your soul wherever it will. There is no wrong way to grieve.

Which Direction?

And while a heart throbbing with compassion longs to agree, I cannot keep silent. I am compelled to say, “False!” I must cry out, “Beware!” There is no danger so great to a hurting heart like that of absolute freedom. A soul unguarded and unrestrained is a soul most vulnerable. Grief demands guardrails. It demands boundaries. Grief must be instructed. It is not a lack of compassion that suggests this, but rather the reverse. Truly, there is no season quite like grief. The numbness, the confusions, the isolation, the weariness…

It is new terrain for the soul, and it must somehow be navigated. Which is the more loving alternative, to say to a soul aching with pain, blinded by emotions and desperate for hope, “Head in whatever direction you think best, and I’ll cheer you on,” or to say, “Here, let me walk you towards hope – it is this way even if you can’t see it. I can.”

The Path to Hope

In despair we need hope. In confusion we need clarity and in the darkness we need light. God’s Word provides all three. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.” declares the psalmist (Ps. 119:105). “[God’s] Word is truth…” assures our Savior (John 17:17). The Bible has the power to uphold the weary steps of the broken hearted and to guide him or her through the misty shadows of grief. It has the power to teach the mourning heart to sorrow to the glory of God just as it once rejoiced to His glory.

In seasons of sorrow we must make ourselves more than ever the disciple of God’s Word. We must push ourselves more than ever to kneel, to hear, and to live out the truths of God’s Word. We must remember, regardless of what the world says, God’s commands still apply to us. When God says to place our hope in Him, He means for you to entrust your sorrow to Him, trusting Him to give you the grace to endure the ache, the grace to live in spite of loss, the grace to fulfill your responsibilities regardless of your weariness and disinterest.

God Calls You to the Right Course

When God calls His children to a life of self-control, He means even you, even now. He doesn’t exempt fits of rage in seasons of grief. He doesn’t benignly shrug or indulgently smile when you give in to yet another binge on Netflix or spend yet another day mindlessly scrolling on the internet.

When God calls His children to love and serve others, He means you too. He is nudging you, asking you to lift your eyes just a bit above your own broken heart to see perhaps a similar hurt in the eyes of another. He is asking you to pray for the darkness you see hovering over someone else’s world and He is asking you to make an effort with the little you have left to love your neighbor in the way you’d like to be loved.

His commands, His instructions still apply to you. They are the guardrails that will guide you safely through this season of grief. Oh, I know these words have the potential to stir up anger. How can I place burdens on hearts already overburdened? I don’t know, maybe it’s the nurse in me – I know that a good nurse isn’t always the most loved nurse. Who likes the nurse who first gets you up on your feet after surgery? Who likes the nurse who says, “I know you’d rather not, but you really must.”

Drifting to the Wrong Path

The truth is, I have seen too often sorrow added to sorrow when those grieving excuse themselves from walking according to God’s Word. Fatigue and apathy lead to a falling away from Bible reading, from prayer, from church which leads to further fatigue and further apathy. Confusion and frustration lead to bursts of anger; lack of self-control leads to poor choices. Guilt grows day by day creating a wedge between the soul and hope, between the soul and life. For there is truly no life worth living apart from God.

And while the early, immediate days of grief can and should be marked by moments of quiet, days of rest and honest, heart-felt lament, there comes a point, and it doesn’t take long to reach it, when a decision must be made. A choice must be made between living a life of life or living a life of death, a choice between making heartache a temporary resting place or a permanent residence.

Choose to be Led to Hope

Do not be deceived, it is a choice. To live, you must choose to command your heart to do what your heart has no desire to do. If you want to come through the days of sorrow, you must choose to be committed to being committed. And you must choose to search for God’s face in His Word daily regardless of whether you can even see your own face in the darkness. You must choose to cry out to Him though the sound of your voice for a time seems to echo back to you unheard and you must be committed to walking in obedience though it doesn’t make sense, though your heart is not in it, and though you see no results. In addition, you must choose to accept a season of dryness, a season of walking by faith and not necessarily by sight. You must choose to be led by God’s Word, not by the impulses of your very vocal heart; and you must choose to go on in spite of an utter lack of desire to go on. Above all you must choose to cling with all your might to the reality of a God Who stands not apart from you but beside you, near you, around you.

Though you are not always able to feel His hand, it is guiding you and though you can’t always hear His voice, it is singing over you. Though you cannot taste or smell or see His love, it surrounds you; and it will be surrounding you when the fog lifts. Oh, grieving friends, face the grief within the security of His Word. Make it your teacher, your counselor, your guide in the darkness. There is a way through, a path to hope. Let yourself be led to it.

For Prayer Support

If you are seeking support through prayer, please visit our Prayers for You page. We invite you to allow us to pray for you… for your heartache, for your family, for your future or whatever is pressing down on your soul today.