When sorrow barges through
the door of my heart
like an unwelcome guest,
I have learned
to take a deep breath
and welcome her
as the clumsy cleaning crew she is,
here only to sweep
to freshen up
the arrangement of furniture
and clear out the superficial things
I don’t need
(or even really want) anymore,
to make space for what’s essential …
I have learned to trust grief
as a worker, who comes
the sanctuary of my soul
for more grace.
Grief can feel invasive and scary. In our humanity, we’d desperately like to avoid the painful emotions that infiltrate our hearts, when we’re going through hard times.
But Jesus said “Blessed are those, who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
Where is the blessing of sorrow that Jesus was talking about, though? Is it in this moment as the grief makes us feel like a ship that’s about to sink? Or is it at some future time after the grief has faded to a more manageable level? Does mourning our losses serve some kind of a spiritual purpose to help us grow closer to God or do His work? Does it have something to do with purifying our souls and releasing attachments to good but lesser things than God, which we would never choose so can only be done by having them ripped away?
In the prophecy of Simeon, we were taught that the purpose of Jesus and Mary’s suffering is (at least in part), “so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed!”
Luke 2: 33-35 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed[d]— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul also, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed!”
This is a mystery worth contemplating and which we may never fully understand with our limited human capacity for understanding the mysterious ways of God.
But I think it is worth considering: If Mary and Jesus had to suffer as part of their mission from God, why shouldn’t we have to suffer as part of ours? What special purpose do you think God has appointed You for? What greater good do you think can come out of the heartache you’re going through right now? How can it help you achieve your life purpose in some spiritual, supernatural way?
Has suffering ever opened your heart in greater compassion or desire to serve others? Have you grown closer to the Lord through prayer in times of loss and heartache in a way that you wouldn’t have if things had continued to go your way? Have you expanded your capacity to manifest the gifts or bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit? These are all good and worthy things to prayerfully ponder in your heart, as you grapple with the struggle you’re going through.
How do you process the sorrows of your life in Light of your personal vocation and calling from God? Do you find that grief can be like a “cleaning crew” for your soul too, helping you make more space for God’s graces to fill your life? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Lord if you died, so that the “hearts of many can be revealed,” please reveal in our own hearts the purpose of the suffering we’re going through. Give us the strength to carry our crosses and find Your mercy in them, until our peace can be restored and divine purpose fulfilled. In Jesus name, we pray.
written by Nicky Gant for http://www.uniteinprayer.org 1/23/2020