“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
“The lung specialist is in my room right now,” Mom said early that morning when I called to check on her. She had been in the rehab unit for over a week, and we witnessed her progressively getting worse instead of better. As I hung up the phone, fear rushed in. I had to get to the hospital. An hour later, I arrived at the hospital met by the lung specialist, who explained that her lungs were full, and she was experiencing congestive heart failure. The next twenty-four hours would be touch and go.
As I stood by her bed, encouraging her to stay strong and fight through this, she shook her head no. It was apparent that she didn’t want to fight. I knew then my mom was dying. That evening in the ICU unit, she motioned for me to read Psalm 23, one of her favorite scriptures. After reading the passage, mom’s heart rate slowed, and shortly after, she passed from this world into the next.
Death. It’s a part of life. Yet, so few of us are prepared to face the loss of those we love.
Grief. Where do we learn how to navigate the complexity of feelings embodied in this one word?
As we prepared for Mom’s celebration of life and said our goodbyes, I had no idea how to start the grieving process. Having been her caregiver for four years, immediately after her death and through those days of planning her service guilt became a constant companion. I kept berating myself thinking of things I should have done, which could have prevented her death in my mind.
A few weeks after her service, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I don’t have that much control. It is God who gives life and takes it away. There was nothing I could have done.
On that particular day, that very hour and in that hospital was the day He had chosen for my mom to leave this earth.
Immediately, I felt the guilt lift from my heavy heart. God’s compassion was evident in this revelation. It allowed me to continue in my grief journey. Knowing that even though it was hard to say goodbye to my mom, God’s tender mercies were available to comfort me during those difficult days.
Are you traveling through days of grief? Perhaps it’s not a death in your family, but the death of a relationship, job, or dream. God’s compassion is for you.
Today, why not spend a few moments in solitude with God, Listening, not speaking, and opening your heart to receive what He has for you.
Or search for scriptures about compassion, mercy, or tender love. Here’s a couple of scriptures to get you started.
God of Mercy, I’m blown away by your compassion and tender love. I’m thankful that you meet me right in the ugly, hard emotions of grief, and yet, don’t leave me there. Today, I trust you to help ease my broken heart and replacing it with the strength to get through this time of grief. Thank you, Lord. Amen.