Grief has many different faces: sorrow, misery, anguish, pain, distress, heartache, agony, torment, affliction, suffering, woe, dejection, and despair ― just to name a few. At different times in our lives, we will all experience many of these, and some of them simultaneously. I recall a specific grievous and prolonged timespan in which I earnestly prayed, fasted, and begged for God to change my circumstances. Then one day at the end of a lengthy fast, God spoke to my heart as I read today’s verse, “This is a grief and you must bear it" (Jeremiah 10:19).
I knew from that point on, regardless of how fervently I prayed, how long I fasted, or how earnestly I begged, that God didn’t intend to deliver me from my situation. Consequently, I asked Him to “teach” me to be submissive to His will so that I could be content in the position He had placed me, as Paul had learned to be content in all his circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).
A major source of encouragement to me during this process was a quote by the 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon: “Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” I copied the quote on a post-it note and tucked it in my Bible. I referred to it often. Gradually, instead of wanting to escape the grief I bore, I truly desired to glorify Him in it until He had accomplished His purposes through it.
Father, may we trust that your good purposes are at work in our difficult circumstances even when we can't yet see it. Amen.
Go Deeper ― Copy or memorize Spurgeon’s quote along with Philippians 4:11. Then refer to them both when your grief seems unbearable.
Need help coping with grief, especially over losing a loved one? This article may help: Feeling Grief: Facing Your Loss.