Friday, February 16, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: On Grief

The Blessing of Grief 
A devotional by Shellie Arnold

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” 
~Matthew 5:4 (ESV) 

I met Jesus when I was only three or four years old. I grew up attending church, learning about God, memorizing Scripture. But this verse always troubled me. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Even before I started first grade, I’d been hurt by others and experienced loss. This verse in Matthew seemed to contain a Christian-speak mind game, or bait and switch scheme. If you’re mourning something, you’re blessed. “Blessed” meaning ethereal goodness was at work in your life. Or, a “blessing” was coming. Simply call loss a “blessing,” and it was, because you’re a child of God, and children of God lead only “blessed” lives.

As I grew older, I couldn’t understand or see any blessing from old or new pain, and sometimes I’d get angry about that. I’d feel betrayed and think Where’s my blessing from mourning? I was looking for the blessing, something I could hold that balanced out the pain. 

Then this year the worst betrayal and mourning experience rushed upon me and my family like a tsunami. I was drowning in grief and shock. At the same time, God began making connections and opening doors I’d been praying about for years. Years!

When I could barely move. Could hardly think. And I had a book deadline and other commitments to keep, even though I couldn’t eat. The grief seemed to melt my very bones.

I could only weep and pray, listen to worship and weep some more, as I stared at my computer and rocked, trying to be faithful to the commitments I’d made. I felt the inhale and exhale of every single breath.

Then something miraculous started to happen. When I thought I couldn’t take another breath, I did. When I thought I couldn’t type another word, I did. God placed others in my path who needed to hear something I’d learned, and He gave me the breath, the words, and the energy to share.

In that dark place, I began to understand. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” God was the blessing. His presence. His provision. The part of Him He lends us, so we can take the next breath, type or speak the next word. The power to live with and through the pain, despite our mourning.

I believe that’s the blessing of mourning. God’s Spirit being so near, so intimate, He breathes for us. He moves our fingers. He sets the words on our tongues and helps us rain them on others as we point to Him. Because one day, they will face a grief that threatens to crush them and take over their lives.

Mourning can be an experience that draws us closer to God than we ever thought possible. At least, that’s what happened to me.

Author Bio: 
Shellie Arnold is a writer and speaker on marriage and family. She truly believes—despite baggage, neglect, or mistakes—if a husband and wife listen to God, they can live happily ever after. Her passion is sharing how God is helping her do exactly that.

She maintains a blog at and is the founder of YOUR MARRIAGE resources.

Shellie is a mother of three and has home-schooled for over twenty years. She lives in Ohio with her husband of thirty-one years.

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