“Put on your strength, shake off the dust and be loosed from what binds you!” These words are taken from Isaiah 52. These are words of encouragement spoken to the one grieving the death of a loved one lost to suicide, to the one who lost their father to Cancer, the one who lost a friend who was taken from this world too early. It speaks to the one who went through a divorce, to the single mom as she returns to school, the person who watches a loved one suffer with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, the one who lost their job, the mother who lives far from her grown children, the one who has suffered rejection and broken relationships. It’s for the person who lives in a new town and is alone, for one who misses their beloved pet and as life goes on so does the list! Loss comes in many forms, and I have been all these women. Those words of encouragement are strengthening! I need this message every single day! Life is filled with fantastic and crazy fun times, and it is filled with times of struggling to stay afloat!
When that concrete block is on your chest, and you cannot breathe as the heaviness of another day is more than you can bear. When even good memories are so painful you must lay them aside just to go on. God is still there! A heavy heart can come from many things, for me loss and grief have made their way to my door all too often. I know them like an old friend, but a friend they are not! It was years after my brother died that I realized loss was the golden thread in my life. It was my mess and now it is my message! To keep from sinking we must set our thinking on Jesus rather than the all the distractions and pain that can seemingly engulf us. Jesus is our magnificent hope! “Now to Him Who, by the power that is at work within us, is able to do superabundantly, far over and above all that we ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]. To Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21). I could park right here for a while! It amazes me how His power woks in us and beyond our wildest dreams! There is real peace in that! It is not dependent on us, but we get to live dependent on God who does beyond what we ask or think!
As a former potter I easily identify with the illustration from Isaiah 64, of our Heavenly Father being the potter and we are the clay in His masterful hands. Just as a potter carefully crafts his creation molding and shaping what he intends, so does our loving Father. We have been created by a loving God who molds us and takes the brokenness of our lives and makes them whole and new! Only He can take the hurt of our lives and shape it in such a way that we become stronger. It has been over 25 years since my bother took his life, yet I find myself needing these words just as much now as I did then. Submersing myself in God’s Word as I sought answers, developed a deep relationship with my Savior. Life has changed but I am still in need of the One who has the answers! He offers to be our companion on this rugged road we call life. Do we take Him up on it? Jesus wants us to know Him like we know those who are near and dear to us. Can you say you have that kind of intimate relationship with our Creator and Savior? If you don’t, no need to worry, you can! He wants to walk closely with us!
Healing and restoration are not a one-time fix but an ongoing process throughout our lives. My prayer was that the Lord would take the untimely death of my brother to help others. As life continues that same prayer resonates. God has a design for our lives, an individual and unique plan laid down since the beginning of time. Life is marked with joys as well as pitfalls, but through it all Jesus is the beacon of light that shines bright! May these penned words shine a bright light to the path that leads you straight to Him!