The Cloud of Gloom, the Shadow of Death
Devotional Discussion THought of the Day:
6 In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. 7 There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. 8 He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears…..
The LORD has spoken! 9 In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” Isaiah 25:6-9 (NLT)
It was a day like none I have seen since I worked with hospice, as yesterday four families I talked to, and met with, who were in the midst of dealing with death. Two funerals I will be performing this week, maybe three. And one of those, is because their pastor is caring for his wife, while she mourns for the second time in a month.
As I think about the services this morning, as the mourning of the families lies heavy on my heart, the concept of comforting them is very much my goal. The challenge is, in the midst of the grief, providing real comfort – not just a mask to show, not just something that covers it over, or numbs the pain. I am no novice at trying to shepherd people through such times, I have made the mistakes of saying the trite things that distract for a moment, that diminish the pain, (or at least they lead me to believe it does..for the moment), Death is real, as is the Love that death tries to still, yet it cannot.
The challenge then, is providing something of real comfort, some kind of peace, not in lieu of the pain and grief, but that sustains us through such times. How?
There is only one thing I know of, only one answer. The hope that is given us, the expectation that comes from a death, which ripped out the eternal-ness of death.
Christ’s death on a cross. For there, as death aimed for another victory, it was swallowed up, what it did and does, in swallowing up life, happened to it. It’s power is broken eternally.
We have been saved from its cold grasp – and though we still find ourselves grieving… the grief is within sight of hope. For even as we have died with Christ, we shall indeed live with Him.
For that matter, the comfort doesn’t come from what I do in a suit, or in my robes, as I stand in front of those mourning, in front of those who have suffered loss. I have no such power.
But the Spirit of God, the Spirit of life, the Spirit who gives life…
He has never left His alone, either those who walk through the valley of death, or those who are still in green pastures, besides still waters… resting in His presence.
Their hearts and minds kept secure by Jesus, in the unsurpassable, unexplainable peace of God our Father. For the Lord is with you!
May I, in the days to come reveal it to those who mourn, and may you as well, realize it in your life, and reveal it to others..