The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, August 19, 2022, comes to us from Stephen E. Freeman of Virginia.
1 I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:1-8 NRSV
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN
In April 2008, we lost our teenage son, Nick, to suicide. Nick was much loved by our large family and his many friends. His sudden passing left us with raw emotions of shock, loss, anguish, and grief. How could this have happened, and why did God allow it? Searching scripture, I discovered Psalm 34. Reading verse 18 brought an immediate conviction in my heart that as painful as this was, God would take care of us.
The weather forecast for the day of the funeral called for a 100 percent chance of rain. I offered this short prayer: “God, I need blue skies and sunshine to bury my son.” On the morning of the funeral, the sky was threatening; but as we emerged from the service midday, the clouds had vanished, the skies were blue, and the sun was shining. The weather remained perfect for the rest of the day. In the days that followed, we were surrounded by family and friends who cared for all our needs, a further sign of God’s continuing compassion.
God did not answer my “why” question; but God was present, showing compassion, sovereignty, and care. We will forever mourn our son, but we will live on with hope, and a certainty that God loves us and that we will someday join Nick in eternity.
We may not know all the mental and emotional struggles someone is dealing with, nor the pain of a family enduring the loss of a loved one due to suicide. May Stephen’s reflection remind us to pause and make time to be present with those who are struggling.
Dear Father, when we are overcome with grief, thank you for your promise never to leave us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
--Stephen E. Freeman
Families of suicide victims
Thought for the day:
God’s love will see us through our greatest trials.