“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The Enemy of Grief
Devotion based on Nehemiah 8:10
See series: Devotions
Not long ago, a journalist by the name of Amy Paturel was driving to see her father. He was dying and did not have long to live. She stopped to gas up her car. She then promptly got back into her car and drove off—only to discover, too late, she had left the nozzle in her tank.
A neurologist by the name of Lisa Schulman describes a similar experience. Several months after her husband’s death, Lisa was running a simple errand but somehow got lost. In that moment, she could not remember where she was or how she got there. She had to use the GPS on her phone to find her way home.
Such is the power of grief.
Researchers have discovered that grief can have the same impact on the brain as blunt force trauma. Signals between your left and right hemisphere take unexpected routes. Your body releases a cocktail of chemicals that affects how you process information. In addition, the journey of grief has no shortcuts. As someone has said, “Grief is a desert that must be crossed on foot.”
Profound grief is, perhaps, one of the strongest reminders we have that you and I live in a shattered world; a world shattered by sin—yours and mine.
When God the Son entered our time and space, he experienced our grief first-hand. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows,” Isaiah chapter 53 proclaims. But his whole purpose for stepping into our grief-stricken world was to see to it that grief would not have the last word. In our place, he lived a life of perfect holiness. As our substitute, he marched to the cross and paid our debt of sin in full. Then, to demonstrate his victory, he rose from death.
Does this mean that you and I will never experience grief? No, it does not. However, it does mean that as bitter as our tears of grief may be, such tears are temporary. We will taste them in this life alone. But the tears of joy are eternal. Because Jesus lives, the tears of joy we will taste forever.
Lord Jesus, remind me that my tears of grief are temporary, and my tears of joy are eternal. Amen.
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