“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”—Romans 15:13
Last year in December, both my mother-in-law (today is actually the 1-year anniversary date of her passing) and a brother-in-law died from lung cancer. When you see someone close to you die from a disease that ravages the body like that, it is hard to not question where God is. How can a loving God let someone die such a painful death? Why does God allow sickness and evil to go on in the world around us?
I wish I had answers to these questions, but I don’t. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I may never know on this side of eternity. I do know from my experience, regardless of the pain and heartache that I have felt due to the death of a loved one, that God was with me and He is also with you.
Despite watching someone you love die, you have to cling to the good that may have come out of it. Did God bless you with loving and caring health care? Did you and your family have the love and support of family and friends? These are all blessings in the midst of our pain and sorrow. If we can choose to focus on those things rather than the loss of our loved ones, it seems to lessen that empty hole in our heart.
Unfortunately, this time of the year our pain can be amplified when we are constantly reminded of the absence of someone that is no longer here with us. I know this may sound silly, but last Christmas when I was putting up Christmas decorations and I came across my dog’s Christmas stocking, I lost it. You just never know what can trigger a break-down….a scent, an item of clothing, a photo…whatever it is, take solace that your Lord and Savior is the greatest Comforter of all.
If you are still mourning the loss of a loved one, what is a way you can honor their memory rather than grieve the loss? For me, one way I have given back is to continue to meet and knit with one of the ladies I grew to love through the knitting group at my mother-in-law’s assisted living. At first, it was odd to walk by her old room, but now, I look at that door and am reminded of how she was the one that brought me to knitting with the senior population. I know now that this is a place where God wants to use me, but I also know I needed my mother-in-law’s nudge to step out and volunteer. So this December, Mary Hennessy, I thank you for opening my eyes to have a heart for the elderly that many in our society overlook.
One of my favorite scriptures that I have included on many of my Christmas cards throughout the years is, Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” If you have been joining me in memorizing scripture, this is my memory verse for the month of December. If scripture memorization isn’t your thing, I encourage you to write out this scripture and put it where you can read it every day as a reminder that when you put your trust in God, you will be filled with joy and peace and the Holy Spirit will flow out of you to those around you even though you may be experiencing some feelings of grief this Christmas season. God is near. Let Him guide you to others that you can be a blessing to this month.
I lift up those whose hearts are still aching from the death of a loved one. Surround them in Your loving arms and open their eyes to ways they can honor their loved one despite their tears. I thank You that You are the greatest Comforter of all. I Thank You that You are my God of hope. I pray for those that are sick or caring for someone whose health is ailing. Give them strength to love those around them despite their feelings of emptiness. Help them to embrace the love of Jesus. It is in Your Precious Son’s name, Jesus, that I pray these things. Amen.
If you are knitting gifts to give away to those in your sphere of influence to let them know they matter, attach this tag to your gift.