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Finding hope in heartache

by | Mar 16, 2022 | Opinion

I recently received a call no one ever wants to receive. My sister had been horrifically murdered at her home in South Carolina. I was stunned as I tried to process a statement that didn’t make sense to me.

The next step of calling other family members to inform them made it worse. I had no answers. We couldn’t rally to help save her. It was over.

My biggest tears probably came as I prayed with my adult children on a conference call. As a pastor my job is to comfort others through tough times. All I could muster was heartbreak as I prayed for my nieces and nephew, parents, and a grandson now without a Mimi.

I wept as I thought of school officials having to tell her class of public school fifth graders that their teacher would never be back to finish the lesson plans open on her desk for the next day.

To compound the loss, we had just buried her husband less than a year ago after his battle with cancer. His death left my sister a widow at forty-nine and dead by fifty.

Knowing she was still struggling with the grief of losing the love of her life provided some comfort in knowing they were reunited in heaven through their faith in Christ.

I was reminded that Jesus wept. It’s a short verse that says that in John 11:35. Jesus already knew his friend Lazarus had died. He already knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. So, WHY does Jesus shed tears when he arrives?

His heart aches for the people who hurt. His friends, Mary and Martha, had lost a brother. Jesus understood their pain.

When we’re commanded in scripture to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. It’s not a command for us to do something God is incapable of doing Himself. God is not an emotionless robot.

In the Old Testament God sings over us. In the Garden Jesus expresses sorrow and pain considering the cross that lies ahead. At one point in his ministry, Jesus looks out of the city of Jerusalem and weeps for them as he sees people who live like they have no shepherd; no God. 

This is a Savior who knows our pain and understands our sorrow.

God’s heart breaks FOR us & WITH us.

I don’t always understand what God does and allows to happen. However, I always know how deep is His love for me.  For you.

My sister had always had a strong faith. A strong relationship with the Lord. It’s what she had been clinging to since the loss of the husband she adored last year.

On a Facebook post around Christmas, my sister wrote these words: “There really is only one way to mend the broken heart. That is through FAITH….I don’t understand how others live without faith because I get to see [these] loved ones again.” She quoted from another favorite passage, Philippians 3, which includes a verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”     

She concluded her post, “Please, if anyone is struggling with a broken heart, God can give you peace which can allow you to laugh, to celebrate, and to look at all your blessings.

My baby sister left us with that message we’d need. Maybe one you needed to hear too.

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