The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, February 7, 2022 comes to us from Brad Butler of North Carolina.
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:6-9 NIV
I was in high school when my mother died after a long battle with cancer. I was not only sad; I was angry with God. I couldn’t see any purpose in what had happened, and I questioned God’s wisdom and even God’s existence. Though my grief subsided, the question, “Why?” still remained deep inside me. Whenever others mentioned their mothers, my hurt resurfaced. After graduation from college, I became a high school chemistry teacher – a job I loved.
I had been teaching for about 20 years when a student returned to class after missing a week of school because of the death of a parent. What was to be an hour of helping her catch up became an opportunity to empathize with her. I told her I had been about her age when my mother died, and I shared with her the hurt I had felt when other kids mentioned their mothers. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you, Mr. B. No one else seems to understand.” Because of my own experience, I was able to offer her comfort and support. At that moment I finally found something redeeming in the grief I had felt at my mother’s death and for the decades since. And I understood that when we grieve, God grieves with us.
My mother died very suddenly when I was in elementary school, so I know the grief and anger about which Brad Butler writes. I don’t remember experiencing renewed emotion when others spoke of their mothers. I experienced more isolation and loneliness. As an adult, I have often wondered what my mother would think about who I have grown up to be and what she would have been like.
I have been able to offer empathy and support to others who are grieving in many situations. Also, I have often grieved the opportunity to offer service and help to my mother. I have managed to turn that grief into service for friends who need help or comfort. I invite you to consider how your moments of grief have called you to serve others because of your experiences.
Father God, thank you for being with us as we grieve. Teach us patience as we learn to trust you in all things. Amen.
Young people who have lost a parent.
Thought for the Day:
My experiences equip me to show God’s comfort to others.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
Ecclesiates 3:1 NIV