Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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Heading East - HomeWord - October 23, 2018

Heading East
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my portion forever. —Psalm 73:26

Some years ago, my father passed away rather suddenly. As a family we sat with him in the doctor’s office and were told he had a month to live. He took his last breath almost exactly one month later.

I was given the book "A Grace Disguised" as a means to deal with loss.  The author, Jerry Sittser, lost his mother, wife, and daughter in a car accident leaving behind he and three other children. He tells the story of having a nightmare where he is chasing the sunset trying not to let the darkness overtake him. When he tells his sister about the dream later, she shares with him that the fastest way to reach the light is to travel east and dive into the darkness. The author then makes a decision to accept the darkness, knowing he cannot ultimately escape it but must at some point face it.

Facing the darkness meant many different things for my mom, sister, and I as we grieved the loss of my dad. It meant crawling into bed at night and curling into a ball and crying, planting a tree in his memory, attending grief groups, celebrating his birthday out at dinner and telling wonderful stories about him, having days where it felt hard to put one foot in front of the other, celebrating his traits as we saw them in his grandchildren, and accepting the hugs, thoughts, help, and love of friends whenever they were offered.

I have learned through my own experience that grief and its various responses looks different for each person. I am grateful for all that my dad was to me, so thankful to God that I had him as my father and for his example. However, I also found myself sad and upset about my loss. I love reading through the Psalms, especially when I am sad. Psalm 46:1-2 reads "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."

Through our losses, God wants to be our strength, comfort, and hope. We simply need to ask and seek.  In our darkest hours, in our most anguished times, the Lord is your fortress, shield, protector, comforter. Head east. He will bring the light to the darkest of places.

1. How have you experienced loss in your own life?  How did you attempt to cope with your loss?

2. Is it hard or easy for you to trust that God is still good even in the most challenging times?  Why?

Psalm 23; Isaiah 40:18-31; Matthew 11:25-30

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