The following is part one of three devotional Bible studies on grief. See “Walking Through Grief-Introduction” for the author’s story.
Isaiah 40:28-32 was my mom’s favorite verse. For many years after her death, I still choked up when I read it, not only because it reminded me of her, but also because it is such a beautiful and powerful passage.
After reading the passage, consider the following: In contrast to us humans, God does not grow _______ or _______. Instead (verse 29), he gives _______ to the _______ and increases the _______ of the _______. How can we renew our strength (verse 31)?
The Hebrew word translated hope means “to expect, tarry, patiently wait.” But there’s another meaning that, based on the context of the verse, seems like it would fit as well, maybe better. The other meaning is “to bind together by twisting.” If we are bound together tightly with the Lord, our strength can be renewed as he does the work for us by lifting us up on eagles’ wings. We can run and not be weary because he is carrying us in his strength.
One writer likened it to the games kids play where they grab onto a parent’s leg and the parent continues to walk, carrying the child along for a free ride. The child is twisted onto the parent’s leg and can “run” and not be weary and “walk” and not faint. What a beautiful picture!
Sometimes when we are hurting or weary, praying is difficult. We can then rest in the prayers of others on our behalf. Psalm 20 is my prayer for you today. Read it now and substitute the “me”s for the “you”s to make it your own prayer to God.
Next, Read Psalm 119:81-82, which says, “My soul _______ with longing for your _______, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, ‘When will you _______ me?’”
Several years ago I suffered a health crisis. I was in the hospital four times within a year, and in between, I was so sick I could barely walk or eat or be with my family. As I lay in bed all day every day I would stare out the window at the beautiful green and blue world the Creator blessed us with, and I would feel like life was passing me by. Everything went on without me, and I so wanted to be a part of it, not to ever miss anything ever again.
Read Psalm 142 and notice verse 4. When we are in the depths of despair it is sometimes easy to feel alone and isolated from those we love. I had a wonderful support network in my family and in other Christians who prayed for me, brought food, or took care of my kids or drove them places.
If you have a support network, pray right now and thank God for them. Ask his blessings on them. Share your burdens with them and allow them to minister to you in his name. If you don’t have anyone, reach out to a local church or civic organization that will be eager and willing to walk arm in arm with you through this valley.
Verse 6 asks for rescue from “those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.” In the case of someone in the midst of grief, sadness and despair, grief will pursue you and be too strong to resist alone. But the Lord is able to set you free from your prison that you may praise his name (verse 7).
Now, my prayer for you today is Ephesians 3:14-21. Read it more than once and meditate on the parts that particularly speak to you. I pray that God will “strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” Be sure to focus on the section of praise in verse 21.
Very often praising the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ through the precious Holy Spirit can retrain our focus off the trouble of the moment and back onto him. Like Peter when he tried to walk on the water, we lose sight of Jesus and begin to notice the storm all around us. That’s when we sink.
But he is faithful when we are faithless. He will not allow us to drown. He will pick us up from the miry clay and set our feet on a rock and establish our going and place a new song in our heart, a song of praise to our God (see Psalm 40:21).
(Walking Through Grief-Part Two is next.)
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