I love reading Rick Warren’s daily devotions. I wanted to pass this one about grief on to you. It doesn’t take losing a loved one to death to experience grief - although that is definitely a time to grieve. Sometimes we grieve over lost friendships, lost opportunities, sin in our own life that hurt someone, sin in someone else’s life that hurt us, betrayals, loneliness and so much more. I love the verse Rick shares in this devotion, and my prayer is that it ministers to you as it is ministering to me.
Devotion from Rick Warren “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (Psalm 34:18 NCV).
Every change we experience in life includes loss, because you give up something old to get something new. And there's no loss without pain, and there is no pain without grief.
Grief is not bad. It's the way we get through the transitions of life. What is bad is unprocessed grief. If you don’t grieve, you get stuck emotionally, and you spend the rest of your life reacting to something that happened a long time ago. That’s unhealthy!
Sometimes the only appropriate, logical response to life is grief—the losses, disappointments, sin, and suffering in the world. God doesn’t expect you to be happy all the time. In fact, God wants you to be intentional in your grief. Grief is a choice. Not everything that’s helpful and healthy feels good. You’ve got to let yourself mourn losses so you can receive God’s blessing.
There's no hurt you can experience that Jesus doesn't understand. He's experienced all of the loneliness, all of the betrayal, and all of the rejection that we can possibly experience. And the good news is he came to heal our hearts.
When you are sad, God draws you close to himself. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (NCV). When you grieve, you may feel like God is a million miles away. But what you feel and what’s real are not always the same. God is not a million miles away. In fact, he’s never been any closer: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 NIV).
Let God restore your soul by doing three things:
Trust the Good Shepherd to forgive your sins. Romans 3:23-24 says, “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins” (CEV).
Release your offenders, and focus on the future. Your soul cannot be restored until you let go of resentment. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice . . . forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV).
Team up with Jesus to carry your load. When you're yoked up with Jesus, you don’t have to bear your burden alone: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT).
Talk About It
Is there a loss that you have failed to grieve? How has it affected you physically, emotionally, and spiritually? What does it mean to have your soul restored? Why do you think God often feels far away when we are at our lowest point? What do you think he wants you to do when you feel like that?