June 9, 2015

Grief and God’s promises

2 Chronicles 21:1–23:21, 1 John 1:1–4, Psalm 102:1–28

Death is on my mind this week. Last Friday, the eldest son of one of my cousins took his own life. My cousin had lost her first husband, then another son, and now this. Then on Sunday, her husband went to wake her and she had died too. Yesterday I wondered if her death was a mercy. She could not take any more so God took her.

This morning’s reading is also about death, but this time without any mercy involved. Jehoram, the next king after Jehoshaphat, choose to follow Ahab’s evil ways rather than the faith and righteousness of his father. The Bible says that the Lord struck him with an incurable disease and at the end of two years, he died in great agony. It adds this short description to sum up his life: “His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.” (2 Chronicles 21:18–20)

At my age, I think about what kind of life I have lived and wonder if it will make a difference to the next generation. Of course there are regrets, but I’m so thankful for the grace of God and the gift of faith. I can say along with the Apostle John . . .

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1–4)

Jesus gives me joy, yet in that there is also sorrow. Today’s psalm starts out with the emotions I’m feeling regarding the deaths in our family . . . “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!” (Psalm 102:1–2)

The psalmist knew the distress of life. However, he ends his song with promises God gives for the children of God’s children, and their children also: “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.” (Psalm 102:25–28)

I’m thankful that God is eternal and promises security for His people. At the same time, life is precious and even though Christians do not grieve like others who have no hope, I am grieving.

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