Grieve, but Don’t Waste This Opportunity
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Even before COVID-19 I’ve been through multiple seasons of grief, and I know that thankfulness isn’t always the first response of a grieving heart.
Yet that is God’s will for us. We can be thankful for the time we had with those we’ve lost. We can be thankful for the years of plenty. We can be thankful for the memories we’ve made. We can be thankful that we serve a God who is sovereign even over this.
And most of all, we can be thankful that regardless of our hardships on this earth, as children of God, we are joint heirs to the kingdom of God!
1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” I confess, I don’t like grieving. When trials come and grief is in sight, I want it to end and I want it to end quickly.
Yet, Romans 5:3-4 says, “...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” So, not only should we be thankful and rejoice, we should rejoice in our suffering.
It’s in our suffering that some of the most significant sanctification happens. We should look for it, expect it, and rejoice in it. This might be harder for younger children to grasp, but if you lead, they will likely follow.
1 Peter 2:15 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” Do good. It’s that simple. We can comfort one another and serve one another even during quarantine. With today’s technology, we can reach out to just about anyone to see if they’re in need.
We can pray for each other over the phone. We can send letters. We can drop off pantry items to our elderly neighbors. We can use our words to spread encouragement rather than fear on social media. We can and should do good. Even in the midst of this crisis, and even in the depth of our grief.
Ephesians 5:15-20 gives us a long list of ways to and not to make the most of this time.
V. 18 tells us not to get drunk, but to be filled with the Spirit. During seasons of hardship and grief, it’s ever so easy to turn to temptations of the flesh. To drown our sorrows in earthly pleasures. But we must resist and instead fill ourselves with the Spirit.
V. 18b-19 tells us to “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” Is it okay to binge on Netflix, or to spend hours escaping in a book or a video game? Sure, as long as that’s not how you’re spending every hour of every day.
One way to make the most of this time is to come together as a family and praise the Lord. Sing together, pray together, worship together. It might surprise you, but many church-going families have never sung, prayed, or worshiped together outside of a Sunday morning gathering. What better time to start a new habit? If this already is your habit, or it’s a new concept, what better time to use technology and ask someone who is alone during this time to join your family in worship. What a beautiful way to increase your own joy and the joy of others.
V. 20 tells us to “give thanks always and for everything.” Again, this can seem daunting in the midst of grief. Yet thankfulness can be salve for a weary soul.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Daisy-Daisy