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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by William A. Kolb

Wednesday, October 20

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
—Matthew 5:3-5

Of all the painful experiences we must endure in this life, for most of us none is as hurtful as the death of a loved one, whether a friend or a relative. I have always objected to God’s “system”: He calls us to learn to love sacrificially and vulnerably…and when we do, when we really love another human being in the way that God wants, we are open to the suffering that comes when a loved one dies.

Death is a mystery. I often wonder how we survive such pain. My wife of many years died some time ago, and I know I’ll never be the same. The hurt becomes less raw with time, but it never leaves.

I once knew a man whose son committed suicide at age 21. What that man told me has helped with the pain of death. He said, “I’ve been to the bottom and it is solid.” He meant that after his son died, his own suffering was greater than any he had ever experienced before in his life. He feared that he simply could not bear it. 

But he found that in the great darkness that followed, the worst of it—the “bottom,” the most awful grief, guilt, agony of heart—was survivable. God waited for him there, and somehow he received the comfort and hope he needed to go on living.

God is always waiting for us, especially when we find ourselves in a dark place. He doesn’t put us there, but He is waiting to comfort and strengthen us at those times in life when we feel like we just can’t make it. His arms are open, always open. He waits.

Lord, help us to live without fear, that we may rest in the promise of your encircling arms for whatever darkness may come. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.