Always within reach Sunday, May 29 2011 

Two ancient sayings remind us of the power of an aching heart. One is an inscription found on sundials: “Without the shadow – nothing.” The other is from an unknown author:

” The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”

Nothing is more familiar to the recovering Christian than sorrow and grief. The knowldege of repeated failure, of continual mistakes, of past broken promises – all are a heavy load of mournful shame and sorrow. Yet our grief is not to be given permanent stature; our tears are to be cleansing showers, not an endless flood.

Mother Teresa had a comforting bookmark with this inscription to help heal her grief:

Let nothing disturb thee;

Let nothing dismay thee;

All things pass;

God never changes.

Patience attains

All that it strives for.

He who has God

Finds he lacks nothing.

God alone suffices.

God is the anchor that always holds, the solid foundation that never weakens, the companion who never leaves us. Our Lord, Jesus, knows the agony of the broken heart. He knows our pain, and when we hold his hand, he understands and holds us safe and heals our hurt. His hand is always within reach. All we have to do is grasp it.

Prayer: Dear Christ, I know your open hand is always stretched out to mine. Help me to clasp your open hand, especially in times of sorrow.

-A. Philip Parham- excerpt taken from John 16:20-22  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

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The need to grieve Friday, May 20 2011 

At the beginning of a class in college, a professor asked about a missing student. He was told that the absent student’s mother had just died. When the professor asked for a show of hands of those who had lost a parent, several hands went up. “You students please write notes of comfort,” the professor said. “You know what it’s all about.” Loss must be experienced in order to be shared, and it must be shared in order to be healed.

A little boy made a special Christmas ornament for his parents. On the way out of school with his gift, he dropped it and it shattered on the pavement. He immediately screamed with grief at his loss. His father rushed to his side and said, “Hush, Son, be quiet. It’s all right. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.” But his mother, more acquainted with such deep moments, took the sobbing boy in her arms and said, “Oh, it does matter, it matters a great deal.” And she wept for her son’s loss, adding her tears to his.

Grief is a profound part of recovery and new life. Tears of regret, remorse and despair water the roots of love and of life itself. To deny and avoid the hurt and pain of life’s losses is to negate life’s importance. To fail to cry is to fail to live.

Prayer: Jesus, as you grieved over your friend Lazarus, allow my tears of grief to flow as well – for my own losses and those of others.

-A.Philip Parham- excerpt taken from John 11:32-36  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible