November 19, 2014

Running to the Refuge {Day 19}: Refuge in Grief

This is the third week in a month-long series.  Catch up on previous posts here.

Throughout this week, I'm rolling with my gut, letting the Lord speak to me and writing about situations in which He is a Refuge.  I believe the short story is that God is our Refuge in all circumstances and situations!  I will only hit on six possibilities this week, but please roll with this theme; think about areas of your life where you really need to know God as a Refuge and seek out Scriptures to strengthen your resolve to run to the Refuge, rather than to the many false refuges the world offers.

The odd thing about today, is that I feel led to write about something with which I don't yet have much experience, grief.  Some of you have lost parents, siblings, spouses, children, or best friends.  You know grief in a way I have yet to.  I am sure you also have stories to tell of how God was a refuge in those times of heartache and sorrow.  I can only write this today, because I know that when the time comes in my life, I want to be ready to walk through those days in the refuge of my Lord.

This is the verse God brought to mind as my mind returned to consciousness from deep sleep this morning.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
Psalm 34:18

In times of loss, grief, and heartache, when it feels like we have been forsaken, God is close.  God is always near, He is always with us.  The God of the universe, Creator of all we see and the galaxies we cannot, is close to us when our hearts are breaking.  What comfort!  We can grieve in our Refuge, share our hearts with Him, and let ourselves be enveloped by His presence.  God's very presence is with us when grief overwhelms us.

Grief implies loss.  When I think of grief, I usually think of losing someone dear to me.  But you may also find yourself in situations where you're grieving a loss of other things.  Perhaps a sickness or accident means you grieve for what could have been, because you have lost strength or abilities that are no longer yours.  Or maybe there has been an unexpected life change and you grieve the loss of a town you loved, a larger salary you enjoyed, or proximity to dear family and friends.  Whatever the situation, God is close.

As a Refuge in grief, God provides a place for us to mourn freely with one who understands.  We won't scare Him away with our anger or our questions.  He won't abandon us to walk the road of heartache alone.  God, our Refuge in grief, loves us as a parent does a child.  He is our Comforter and Friend.  He is near!

One final thought about running to our Refuge in times of grief:  He understands.  Jesus walked the roads of this earth, loved people, and wept when they died.  Jesus knows human sorrow.  He understands.  And further, God the Father had to turn His back while the sins of the world were placed on the shoulders of His son.  The plan was right and good; redemption was coming!  But how the Father must have grieved to see His son suffer and to turn away as He died.  God understands.

The one who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins knows what it is to grieve and is near when we are grieving.  We have a sure, strong, comforting refuge to run to in grief.

Run to the Refuge, dear friend.

Running Orders:
  • I don't know the aches and grieves of your heart, but the Lord does.  Sit a spell and pour those out to Him today.  Run to the refuge and rest there, letting the Lord be a refuge and comfort to you.
  • Ask the God who is close to the brokenhearted for all you need in the midst of your grief.  Write these things down so you can go back later and give testimony to how He provided for you.

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