Loss. The topic for this week because it is everywhere. It isn’t just death, the loss of a loved one, but the hard things that visit us out of nowhere. Job changes, health crisis, family difficulty, unmet dreams … the challenges of life. Looking to the psalms and David’s writing in particular, we learn how to grieve well. Psalm 22 is our template this week.
Yesterday I noted that recognizing the despair of our souls is paramount to effective grieving. But we don’t stay there. Moving to the next step ensures we will be transformed rather than crushed by the loss we experienced.
3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. 5They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
9Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. 10I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.
22I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people. 23Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!Psalm 22:3-5; 9-10; 22-23
David recognizes his feelings of abandonment. He allows himself to ask where God is. He knows he is experiencing loss. And then he reminds himself what God has done in the past, not only for his ancestors but for him personally.
As difficult as it may be at the time, recalling God’s care for me in the past helps me move through a present difficulty. This might be making a list of what I am grateful for, ways God has provided, moments when I heard God speak to me, recording a sunset or sunrise.
David takes it one more step and proclaims the Lord’s name to others. He gets with his tribe, his crew, his people and they talk about God’s goodness; they rehearse God’s faithfulness.
When I hit a tough spot, my natural reaction is to 1) rehearse the wrong, retell that awful story and 2) isolate myself. David’s reaction is the exact opposite. He acknowledges the pain, then he moves to praise, privately and with others.
Can you do that today? Perhaps it is writing out a gratitude list or meeting with others. You might consider asking the Lord to open your eyes to all he has done in your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!