Making the Discovery—Finding Hope in Grief

heart laying on dead wood with new growth all aroundI can’t imagine anybody being less prepared to face grief than I was―and if anyone had told me I might discover something good in grief—especially HOPE—I wouldn’t have believed them!

But the longer I live, the more God shows me that I’m not alone, and I can always count on Him – especially when I need him the most.

My loss happened without any warning. My husband went on a mountain bike ride, and on his way home, he suffered a massive heart failure and died instantly. I was stunned, and when the numbness wore off and the grief set in, I had no idea what to expect or what to do.

Thankfully, God sees where we are – and what we need – and He doesn’t leave us stranded to fend for ourselves.

The road wasn’t easy; in fact, my husband’s death – and my grief – have been the hardest things (by far) that I’ve faced in my life. Without God, I honestly don’t think I’d be here today. But the good news is that God IS here – and He’s ready to help each of us face grief and discover hope.

How God Showed Up

I could share lots of examples of how God showed up when I needed Him most – sometimes in very unexpected ways – but I’ll just tell you about a few. God made sure I received the exact kind of help I needed – at just the right time. And He was beside me all through my grief journey.

  • I know the peace that passes understanding because I’ve experienced it. At my time of greatest loss, I knew…that I knew…that I knew…that somehow, everything would be all right! This incredible peace enveloped me during my husband’s memorial service. It wasn’t simply a feeling of peace, but also a confident reassurance that God was in control and He would take care of me.

My husband had served in the military, and he received full military honors at his funeral. I led the procession outside to the church’s patio, hugging the folded American flag to my heart. Military jets flew by in formation overhead; the rifle fire of the 21-gun salute broke the silence; and the sound of a lone trumpet playing Taps filled the air. I didn’t know how, and I didn’t know when, but in the deepest part of my soul, I simply knew that I would be okay. What a gift!

After being alone for several years, and frustrated by my own efforts to meet someone, I finally surrendered my future to God – honestly surrendered—whatever His will was, even if it didn’t agree with my desire to be married again. Not long after that – a meeting took place that some might think was coincidental (I don’t see it that way!) – and Jon and I met.

  • We both volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity work day, but we worked on different teams, so we didn’t meet each other that day. One of the volunteers hosted a pool party later on at his home – and when I walked in the door, the first person I noticed was Jon – because I overheard him talking about attending the funeral of a sweet lady who had led a grief support group we both attended – but several years apart! Coincidence? I don’t think so!! We struck up a conversation about Peg – and everything else is history! God knew my heart. But He also knew the right timing. I didn’t!

God made sure I knew he hadn’t forgotten about me when I was feeling discouraged and needed reassurance. I wrote about one of those times in a journal entry I included in my Stunned By Grief book. God showed up at just the time I needed HOPE. Here’s part of that story from my journal …

Today I was feeling very alone and lonely. I felt as though God was not paying attention to me. I prayed that He would get involved—and bring others into my life for companionship and love. I asked why God allowed these circumstances [widowhood and the resulting challenges], and what He wants to teach me through all of this. Maybe it’s just to look to Him—the only one with the power and ability to meet every need I have.

When I sat down to read my Bible, I suddenly realized God was paying attention and He had not forgotten about me. I read the words, “Regardless of your circumstances, God has not forgotten you. Obey Him and trust in his plan.” Wow!

  • Time and again, God impressed someone to call me, or write me a note, or send a card, or just show up – at the exact time I really needed HOPE. He was watching over me, just as He promised to do.
  • We owned a large motorhome – and when my husband died – I needed to sell it right away. I couldn’t afford to keep it – and I couldn’t even drive it! A friend came up with a clever idea – he knew someone who owned a large car wash that was visible from the busy 5 Fwy. He suggested that I take the motorhome there and arrange for them to detail it – SLOWLYso it could be on display for patrons to see. I placed a sign in the window – and I sold it almost immediately – for $10,000 more than we had paid for it!! Another example of the way God took care of me – and gave me HOPE that He would be there to meet all my needs.

God’s Care and Presence

Thankfully, God sees where we are and what we need, during grief and all the days of our lives! He never leaves us and He doesn’t ignore us!

My daughter was 28 years old when her dad died. Three years ago, God gave Kelly and her husband a little son, and he is the joy of their lives, and ours, too! I’ll always believe Anthony was a special gift from God to a daughter who lost her dad much too soon. God brought her new HOPE through Anthony!

One of the greatest blessings I learned over these years is that even during grief, God stayed beside me, every step of the way! You may be thinking I should have known that – but knowing it in your head and knowing it deep in your heart – are two different things.

I’ll be honest – sometimes I had to remind myself God was with me. Grief can be exhausting. But deep down, I already knew the truth.

When I needed God the most, He was there! I’m convinced that HOPE is a by-product of grief, if you’ll look for it. As long as we’re still here, God has something for us. And where God is, hope is …

Grief is not the end of my story or yours! Life goes on, and it can surely be good after grief and loss. Where grief is, God is – and where God isHOPE is alive!

God’s Promise

There’s a verse of Scripture I especially love. It’s a verse of HOPE where God promises to take care of us:

I have cared for you from the time you were born.
I am your God and will take care of you until you are old and your hair is gray.
I made you and will care for you;
I will give you help and rescue
you.
—Isaiah 46:34 (Good News Bible: TEV)

God is always true to His Word …

© 2015 Judy Brizendine

Photo credit: unsplash.com

Related reading:

Do You Feel as Though Grief Is the End of Your Story? – Judy Brizendine
How Do You Stand Back Up When Grief Knocks You Down? – Judy Brizendine

                                                                                                                           

 

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