It’s challenging to feel grateful when you are grieving.
Yesterday, a 59-year-old member of my congregation died after a brief hospitalization with Covid and other health complications. Almost a year ago, a friend of mine lost her 19-year-old son. He was also the grandson of parishioners of mine. In both deaths, my congregation, too, is and was left raw with grief. As we cry out in pain for the loss, how do we find gratitude?
There are several psalms that repeat the refrain: “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good.” My favorite one is Psalm 107 which begins in the NIV edition with: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story...” The psalmist goes on to tell the story of the Israelites, and most of that story includes times of grievous pain and suffering. Between the stories of suffering, we continue to hear the echo—Give thanks to the LORD! God walks with them through their suffering, helping them endure and sometimes relieving their pain.
Even though grief is overwhelming, we never walk alone; God’s love and presence remains. Telling our stories is also an important part of feeling gratitude. As we share our memories and gratitude for our loved ones, we can be thankful for the time and experiences we had with them.
Prayer: Gracious God, give comfort to those who grieve this day. Remain in us as we remain in you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pastor Judy Vidakovich, Flora First UMC originally published in the 2020 Kaskaskia River District Thanksgiving Devotion Booklet
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