“And now there remain: faith . . . hope . . . love . . . these three [the choicest graces]”
(1 Corinthians 13:13 AMP)
I vividly remember the shell-shocked feeling of disbelief after receiving the phone call — the words that introduced me to the deepest grief I have ever known. My only brother had died suddenly and tragically. I was blindsided.
The rain that poured from the sky that day was no match for the tears my family would shed in the coming months. It was the beginning of a long and arduous journey down a road paved with heartache and grief.
Fast forward to 2020, five years after my brother’s passing, the year that held us all in the tight grip of fear and uncertainty. My parents decided to forgo any public or private gatherings, including any visits with my family. While I wholeheartedly respected their decision, my whole heart ached for their presence.
After enduring a year of pandemic-sized brokenness, by Christmas 2020 I was stricken once again with a new, yet all too familiar, sense of grief.
Dear friends, perhaps many of you can relate to an experience of great loss followed by additional heartaches and disappointments, especially during a season of fear and uncertainty. Dark seasons have a way of inviting past pain into the spotlight causing us to focus on our deepest hurts.
When bad news seems to crash in as consistently as the tide, I consider Job, who endured grief upon grief in ways we could never imagine. Job’s story helps me return to what I know is true about God and the verse which served as a lifeline after my brother’s death.
1 Corinthians 13:13 in the Amplified Bible refers to faith, hope, and love as God’s “choicest graces”. Like the sweetest most luscious fruit on the vine, they are gifts from God to enjoy, nourish and sustain us. Like a cord of three strands not easily broken, faith, hope and love serve as a lifeline to the Savior. Scripture says they remain, or last forever, and yet they abide in us right now.
However, there are seasons and even years, like 2020, when our hearts resonate with Job as he cries out, “He breaks me down on every side . . . my hope has he pulled up like a tree” (Job 19:10 ESV).
Nothing uproots hope like the heavy hand of grief.
Still, Job’s faith allowed him to ask God the hard questions and eventually plant his hope in the sacred soil of grief. Friends, listen to the hope planted in Job 19:25, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.”
Faith will always lead us back to hope when we keep our eyes on Jesus.
Uprooted hope can bloom again, even in the soil of grief, when it is watered by The Word.
Grief-laden souls, may God’s choicest graces nourish, sustain, and abide in you so that “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” by faith, “you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18 ESV).