The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 ESV
The home of Paul Laurence Dunbar, noted poet, is open to the public in Dayton, Ohio. When Dunbar died, his mother left his room exactly as it was on the day of his death. At the desk of this brilliant man was his final poem, handwritten on a pad. After his mother died, her friends discovered that Paul Laurence Dunbar's last poem had been lost forever. Because his mother had made his room into a shrine and not moved anything, the sun had bleached the ink in which the poem was written until it was invisible. The poem was gone. If we stay in mourning, we lose so much of life. Henry Simon Belleville, Illinois 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
In 2021, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill experienced an outbreak of suicide in the student body. Five young people committed suicide in one semester. The school brought in mental health professionals to help the students process their grief. But what about those parents who sent their young adults to school only to get that dreaded phone call that their children committed suicide. How does a parent cope with the broken heart from losing a child who had just entered adulthood?
As a parent, I cannot bring myself to think about the depth of despair and brokenness parents experience when they lose their children, especially to suicide or when killed by someone else. Yet, many parents are trying to cope with that exact unfortunate reality. In many instances, these parents do not know how to move forward. So, I can understand why the mother of Paul Laurence Dunbar turned his room into a shrine and not moved anything.
In today’s text, the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. When parents lose their children, they are crushed in spirit indeed. Only a loving God can provide comfort and solace to parents who are crushed in spirit because of the loss of their children. In truth, I don’t even know what that looks like. But what I do know is Jesus declares in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
In 1991, one of my brothers died in a car accident at the age of 29. It took many years for my mother to recover from that loss. But even as my mother was grieving, she kept her faith in God, and turn to the Lord for His comforting grace. My mother used prayer as her emotional therapy. She remained fervent in prayer despite the depth of her emotional anguish. She never got over that loss, but God gave her the strength to turn her pain into a ministry to help other mothers who lost their children.
Believers should draw closer to God in times of grief. Only God can turn our mourning into joy. Despite the extent of the loss, a person should not remain in a state of mourning endlessly. If we stay in mourning, we lose so much of life. God wants us to live more abundantly, even in grief. The Lord knows what it is like to lose a child. His heart was broken when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of humanity. So, God is partial to those who are mourning; and He will do His utmost to comfort them. He just needs the opportunity to do so.
Don’t stop praying, worshiping, and feasting on the word of God in times of grief. God can comfort the brokenhearted and save the crushed in spirit. Watch and pray that your grieving does not lead to hopelessness and disinterest in living. Please seek help from professionals if you are unable to cope with your grief, and keep the faith no matter how painful the experience may get
Questions for Personal Reflection
How are you keeping the faith through your grief?
How can you help someone who is struggling to manage their grief because of a traumatic loss?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I am interceding on behalf of parents who lose their children to suicide, gun violence, cancer, or other illnesses. Please comfort the brokenhearted and save the crushed in spirit. Help them to keep the faith in the depth of their sorrow. Draw them closer to you and give them emotional peace so they live their lives to the fullness with the joy of the Lord.