Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, September 29

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
—Ezekiel 36:26

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God speaks to people in exile, people who feel separated from their homeland and also from God. It is a remarkable, hopeful passage, and I was very surprised to hear a friend of mine named Ann quote it verbatim yesterday.

When her mother died last year, Ann was overwhelmed with grief. “She was my rock, my best friend. I don’t know how I am going to do without her,” she told me as we planned her mother’s funeral. I don’t know where this insight came from, but I told Ann I thought, in time, that she would find a lot of her mother was quite alive, inside her.

The same day Ann’s mother died, my first grandson was born, and that seemed to comfort her. “Those two passed each other on their separate journeys,” she said. Yesterday, when I saw her, she said, “It’s been a year since Mother died, and every time I see your grandson I think of him as a sign that new life comes in the midst of loss.”

Her eyes bright with tears, she told me that she had read the Ezekiel passage somewhere and memorized it because it meant so much to her—it was another sign from God, like my little grandson. “You told me that I might find some of Mother within myself, and when I read that Bible verse I remembered what you said, and I think it’s happening. I miss her terribly but I am stronger than I thought I would be.”

That conversation was a blessing for me: through her honesty, her open emotion, and that marvelously unexpected Scripture quotation, Ann fleshed out Ezekiel’s words: out of the deepest hurt, the most painful loss, God gives us renewed hearts, renewed spirits.

Thank you, dear God, for hope in the midst of loss, for new life amidst death, and for surprising blessings every day. Amen.

The Signposts for September are written by Margaret Jones and originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.