We often think that grief is only present when we have gone through the death of someone we knew or loved. But in reality, grief is present to some degree in everyday life. We all have losses: from lost jobs, divorce, a major illness, disasters like hurricanes, and fires, these can all cause us to experience a form of grief. So the important question is how do we deal with these often unexpected difficulties.
Like all things in life, our attitude will determine our response to a situation. If we recognize that grief is not a sign of weakness we are at the beginning of dealing with the issue. A time of loss or grief is not an exception in normal life, times of calm are the exceptions in our life. We can't avoid times of loss so perhaps we should try to prepare ourselves so when they come we know where to turn for help.
Building a foundation that will withstand the storms of life is important. Knowing where to find help in times of trouble is important. I like to go to a wise person for advice and this is no exception, when I look at what Soloman, the wisest man in the world, who says in 3:7 " Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths". Trust is a conscious decision we make, so if we have decided to trust God when the losses come we know where to turn for strength to make it another day. When the winds of life buffet you and seem like they are going to blow you away, remember the eagles who fly above the storm. Let the winds carry you through the loss not destroy you.
"Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
We use the word "hope" frequently ie: I hope it doesn't rain today. What we are saying that we have an anticipation of future things, a desire for something to happen (or not to happen). What are we hoping for, health, wealth, peace, an end to the current situation? Or do we think that our situation is hopeless?
I am reminded of Noah, a man who had very little reason to hope for the future. His name means comfort, but he was not comforted in his lifestyle. Think about it, he was on this boat with all those animals, just the sounds of them would have been disturbing, let alone the smells. As that vessel full of living creatures rocked and rolled on the sea, I wonder if Noah (or Mrs. Noah) ever got seasick or a feeling of hopelessness or desperation in their situation? Noah had hope for a better future or he would not have sent the dove out to search for land. Perhaps one morning he woke up miserable and a bit nauseous when God gave him the thought to send out that bird. After the first time he sent out a bird and it didn't come back he might have lost hope that he was ever going to get off that floating zoo. But he tried again. Just imagine that moment when Noah's hope turned into reality when that lone dove returned clenching a small single olive branch in its beak. Just a little spark of hope must have arisen in Noah, but it only takes a spark to start a fire burning.
What about us today, are we like Noah standing on the deck of that ark, looking at an endless sea with no end to our situation insight? We can have hope in the seemingly hopeless situations of life. We can have the same source of hope and faith Noah had.
David had that same hope too, he knew he could put his hope in God as he said in Psalm 71:5, "You are my hope, Lord God". In the painful seas of life, God can heal us and give us deep peace. Incidentally, olives and doves have been a sign of hope and peace since the days of Noah. Where is your olive branch, God has it ready to send you?
.In today's world, we don't see much reason for joy or laughter in others or our own lives. Some people have a smile on their face but it is only skin deep, (did you ever wonder what they were thinking about, like are they thinking I need to comb my hair but they won't say it, they just smile and go on). It may be difficult at times to have real joy, inner joy that comes from the heart when your whole world is crumbling around you.
Real joy is a conscious decision on our part, when we get up in the morning do we say "today I'm going to be happy." We can even decide before our feet hit the floor. Then throughout the day, we can look for things to be happy about. Have you ever seen a beautiful cloud in the sky, be happy about it being there just for you? How do we get this attitude of joy, Nehemiah 8:10 gives us the secret of real joy, "the joy of the Lord is my strength". The Lord gives us strength, strength to have joy even in difficult times. I learned a chorus that went "Jesus and Others and You spells joy". Maybe if we put Jesus first in our day and then help others, we could have the inner joy. Have a happy day.