As individual members within a body of believers there is always a looming danger in isolating ourselves, especially in times of great pain and sorrow. Whether we’re doing well or not doing that well at all, it’s God’s heart for us to be in spiritual community together, drawn together by our mutual love and submission to Jesus Christ.

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. Prov 18:1 (NKJV)

I didn’t know that the 4th Holiday season (Thanksgiving & Christmas 2016) without my son Eddie would be harder than any of the others.  But it is. As with the rest of our lives lived with grief, things are unpredictable and in some respects, uncontrollable.  Things are not the same without our son, our grandson, his family.  Yet life marches on, as it should, with it’s own challenges and temptations.

It was impossible to foresee the emotional ambushes waiting for me at every turn.  Sights, smells, songs, thoughts, and more all trigger other thoughts, other hopes, dreams, and unfulfilled desires.  Some were predictable and others were downright surprising.  Except that we shouldn’t be surprised by betrayals, or difficulties, or spiritual warfare. Peter put it this way in his walk of faith:

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NLT)

Ah, what encouragement. Everything in our lives is being used by God to ‘make us partners with Christ in his suffering’. What a great Partner to have!

Our church family, Calvary Aurora, where I’ve attended and served for the last 17 years, has a team of men and women ready to serve the broken-hearted. They too have been touched by the sting of loss, the pain resulting from living in a sin soaked world. They serve faithfully behind the scenes, week after week, month after month, ministering to the hurting and grieving.

Recently, the Lord impressed heavy upon my heart to attend the GriefShare Surviving the Holidays class for the first time. I did yesterday and the Lord through His Word and people ministered to my heart through it.

I’m thankful to our GriefShare team and the many hundreds around the country serving through the power of Jesus to reach the hurting, downcast, and the grieving. May the Lord multiply your mercy.

If you’re grieving today, visit the web site for the Christ-centered class nearest you.  We have sessions year round and the next one is in January 2017.  Pray for His help today.  We love you.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalms‬ ‭51:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬