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  • Lea Hartline

Compassion and Faith in Times of Grief


Compasion and Faith in times of Grief- A Christian devotional blog about being a lightouse in times of grief.
Compasion and Faith in times of Grief by Lea Hartline

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18


Life often presents unexpected encounters that touch our hearts. I want to share a special encounter that impacted my journey as I prepared to attend the funeral of my 25 year old niece. It was a reminder that our individual journeys are not solitary; we have the potential to be beacons of light and comfort to one another.



I had locked the door to the spa and was heading to my car. My heart heavy and my soul anxious as I prepared to travel north to go to my niece's funeral. I was dreading everything about this trip. This would be the first time in over 40 years some family members had seen each other. We were uniting as a family to help my beautiful sister and her sons deal with the loss of my niece. My thoughts were on one thing how uncomfortable I was about flying and could we all get along long enough to be a comfort to one another. When I got to my car there was a woman trying to charge her car. She was frustrated and one look I knew she as at the end of her rope. But I was in a hurry because I still had not packed. We smiled at one another. She asked, "Is it okay to scream now?" I told her some days, screaming helps, so if she needed to, it was okay. She then shared that her husband has stage 4 lung cancer and is coming home tomorrow to start the last goodbye. I hugged and told her, "I know your journey." I have walked it. We talked about what the journey of being a widow is like and she shared with me much of her fear, anxiety and a few family dynamics. I gave her my phone number and told her to call whenever she needed to talk. It was a quick reminder that we all have journeys. If we open our hearts and understand that others have walked or will walk where we are walking, we can become a lighthouse for each other. It was a reminder as I was only focusing on my own grief, my families grief and my nervousness about this trip that there were people everywhere in pain that need a smile, a hug and a chance to scream without judgement.

I believe God put this woman's car next to mine so we could share that moment. It was a blessing to me and a reminder that no journey we take is alone unless we choose to make it alone. I pray that she will call me when she needs me. It would be a hard phone call to make to call a stranger so that you could scream or cry but sometimes a stranger who has walked your journey before you is exactly what you need.

When Robert died I was so open to learning from other widows how to keep from drowning in grief. It would be so easy to get lost in the sea of emotions. I was blessed that many widows became lighthouses for me and shined the way back to joy, peace and God.

The Scriptural Perspective:

Matthew 5:4: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." These words resonate deeply with me. We find solace not only in receiving comfort but also in extending it to others. God was my biggest comfort during my time of grief and as I wrestled with anger, pain and regret God stood ready at my side to comfort me. He put people in my path who offered great comfort.


Reflection and Action:

Let's take a moment to reflect:

  1. Consider instances in your life when empathy and compassion played a significant role. How did they impact you and those around you?

  2. How can you become a "lighthouse" for others in their moments of need?


Prayer and Transformation:

We ask God for guidance and transformation in our prayers. May our tongues be instruments of love and encouragement. May our hearts be softened, our ears attentive, and our words uplifting. Let us forgive as we have been forgiven and extend grace, mercy, and love to those we encounter. We acknowledge that anger is destructive and commit to leaving it behind, trusting God's plan.


Verses:

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to him." - Psalm 28:7


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2


"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." - Colossians 3:12



Conclusion:

As we navigate our journeys, let's remember the power of compassion and empathy rooted in faith. In times of grief, may we offer solace, knowing that we, too, have been comforted by a loving God. Let us strive to represent Him with open hearts, listening ears, and uplifting words. In doing so, we become vessels of His love, shining light on the path for others, just as this divine encounter illuminated my way that day at the car charging station.

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