Grief is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a “deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement.” And bereavement is defined as a “deprivation or loss by force.”
In other words, an intense sadness (or even pain) over the loss of someone or something.
Over the last number of years, Emily and I have gone through different seasons of grief.
In 2014, we grieved over losing what we knew as our life. We lost what was becoming our home due to war. We lost our apartment (with most of our belongings), our ministry, and many of our dreams and hopes of what life and ministry would be like in Donetsk. It was a painful season of grief. One that really knocked us down. Yet the Lord set us back on our feet.
In 2017, we grieved the health of Emily’s eyes when we received a scary diagnosis. Would she lose her eyesight? Would this cause us to leave the mission field? We had many tearful nights after that diagnosis. And it was a painful season of grief. Yet the Lord strengthen our hearts. (By the way, He also healed Emily’s eyes! She received a clean bill of health two years after that diagnosis).
In 2018, we were led to begin the adoption process when we heard of a sweet little baby girl that was abandoned in a hospital near us. A few months later, we were told that we were not allowed to adopt this baby girl. Another painful season of loss, grieving the reality that we wouldn’t be able to hold and care for the baby we fell in love with. Yet the Lord gave us hope and joy as He directed us to continue the adoption process from a different county. (By the way, pray with us. We are getting closer in the process!).
God has shown Himself strong our our behalf. He has proven over and over again that He truly is faithful. That even when we walk through the darkest valleys, we need not fear, for He is close beside us. If we go up to the heavens, He is there. If we make our bed in the depths, He is there.
And what I am learning, is that as we walk with a limp, with grief, with pain and hurts and disappointments… God is strong and faithful. That in my weakness, His power is made perfect. And in Jesus Christ, there is still wonderful joy, and hope, and a peace that passes all understanding.
On July 31, 2019 my father committed suicide. It’s a grief and a pain that has surpassed all other grief and pain. Words cannot describe the pain suicide brings.
Yet, God continues to show Himself strong on our behalf. God's Word describes Him as “the Father of mercies and all comfort.” He comforts us in our affliction. In our pain. In our grief. The idea of this word “comfort" is not just an easing of pain or trouble. To comfort actually doesn’t mean to take away the burden or ease the pain. It is not just about soothing sympathy. God’s comfort does something far greater: This comfort from God is the idea of strengthening and building us up.
In my grief as a human, I feel weak, hopeless, and torn down. But despite my grief, I have Jesus, who is my strength. My hope. And He builds me up.
Friends, in your grief, run to Jesus.
On August 31st, I returned to the ministry which God has graciously entrusted to me. I taught the Word for the first time since the death of my dad. It was a very difficult day for me, but I see the Lord working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Please listen to my message by clicking HERE. I believe God has a word for you in that message.
And if you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, reach out. Tell someone. It’s not a shameful thing to have that struggle. It’s very real. But suicide is not a way out. Please reach out and get help.
I am available for you and I can direct you to someone in your area for further help. Please don’t hesitate to write me: email@example.com
You are greatly loved by Jesus Christ. Run to Him.