Posted On May 5, 2022

Enjoying Our Lifelong Union with Christ in the Midst of Grief

by | May 5, 2022 | Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

October 13, 2021, will be a day I will remember until I go to be with the Lord. It was a day that my dear mentor, my adopted big brother (and me, his little brother), and one of my former pastors Mike Beaudin, went to be with the Lord. To say that the almost seven months now have been challenging would be an understatement. I have had to pull back from multiple relationships with long-term investments mentoring young men and many others in the past six months. Only recently, in the past month, have I reentered mentoring and counseling others. I quickly realized this was different and sought biblical counseling about a month into my grief. Even though I’ve counseled people for two decades, I often told my wife, “I have no words here. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know how to handle this.” And it’s true. I don’t write this article as an expert on grief. I don’t think there is such a thing. I do write as one who I would say is recovering from grief. I write as one who has his good days and bad days. Thankfully my good days now are more often than my bad days. I wrote that last sentence, dear reader, so you know through tears streaming down my face.

Grieve With Hope

This past Easter, I realized I was grieving without hope. At first, that thought alarmed me that I could, as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word could, forget the gospel. As I thought about it, though, I remember Martin Luther’s famous words, “We need to remind ourselves of the gospel because every day we forget it.” And oh man, is it true for me. I was grieving as a Christian without hope in my resurrected Savior. All I could see was the grief. Oh, how I had slidden down the deep, deep abyss of depression. And yet, as I listened on Easter Sunday as one of my pastors preached the glory of the resurrection, I realized I was grieving without hope in my resurrected Lord Jesus. The thought warmed my heart and encouraged me deeply. I repented, and I’ve had renewed joy in Christ since Easter.

Dear Christian, amid your grief, pain, heartache, and challenges, look to your dear and precious resurrected Lord Jesus. He is enough for you and always will be. Don’t be like I was grieving without hope. You have hope! Your King and Lord Jesus is not dead and gone. He has risen! He has risen indeed! The tomb is empty! Jesus is ascended, and He is soon returning! Look to Christ alone for your hope. He is enough for you and always will be.

Give Yourself Rest and Grace

As I’ve gone through biblical counseling, my biblical counselor has told me on repeat to me to make sure I take time to give myself grace and rest. Now you would think I would know this, I do, but do I practice it? For a Type A personality, it’s not always easy to rest and relax. I’ve long had a military work ethic, and I’m driven to default. I put the pedal down to the metal, and I go, and I go and usually go with next to no break most days. I’m one of those guys who forgets about his break because he’s in “go mode” and has a lot to do every day.

But I have to say it’s been so good to rest, and I’ve needed it. With chronic grief comes major fatigue. When the tears come, I know the fatigue is going to come, and I’m going to need to rest and take a break. It’s been so good for me to rest, and it is one of the reasons I’m doing better is I’m genuinely resting and relaxing. It does no good to pound the pavement and go after being emotionally spent. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve burned out three times, twice in my 20’s and once in my 30’s. With learning those lessons, you would think I would learn to enjoy my rest in Christ, but I am discovering it again and again as of late.

I remember a conversation with a deacon at a local church in Southern Idaho where my wife and I were members years ago. He told me Dave remember to make sure you enjoy your union with Christ. That’s the idea that I’m expressing here, dear Christian, make sure you enjoy who you are in Christ. Take time to be who you are in Christ. Don’t worry about all the things you have to do; they can wait for later. Take time to rest in Christ and enjoy Him amid your grief, pain, and challenges.

Enjoy Reading

One of the things I’m known for is that I’m a “book guy,” and it’s true. I love reading. But I also have a confession: I’ve lost a lot of my love for reading over the last several years. It has become a chore to read book after book. It’s become such a duty. When you are sent as many books as me, close to a hundred every year or more, from publishers, you would understand the chore of reading, not to mention the daunting nature of tackling book after book.

One of the other things my biblical counselor challenged me on was to enjoy the things I enjoy doing. And it ties into my other point because I truly love to read. It should be more of a joy and a blessing to read all the books I get than a chore. So, I’m discovering the love of reading again. I’m enjoying again feasting on the many good books sent to me and realizing it’s such a privilege to have access to these amazing resources so I can talk about them with the authors of these books. And this leads me to the last point that ties this article together.

Renewed Joy in the Lord

I have such a renewed joy for the work the Lord has given me. The past six months have shown me how blessed I am to get to serve the Lord in the way He has given me. Each day I wake up, I don’t have to go far to walk to my office from my wife and my Master bedroom. It’s a short walk down the stairs, and my office is right off the kitchen. I am steps away from the espresso machine and the refrigerator in the kitchen from my office. But I also want to say something about the renewed joy the Lord has given me.

I’ve also realized that the Lord has given me an important voice, and I need to steward it and use it more often. So, I’m going to ask you to pray for me. Please pray for me to be bold and to use the voice the Lord has given me, whether in interviews where I’m being interviewed or interviewing others or through the opportunities to write articles and books to edify God’s people. Please also pray for my opportunities to preach in the local church and through our many podcasts here at Servants of Grace. I pray the Lord will give me the boldness to stand against the wave of false teaching inside and outside the church.

You’ll notice in the coming days that I will be hitting topics that directly impact the local church and outside of it. I have had some trepidation over the years about doing so, and some of it has been a fear of man, but that is gone. I now see that I have an important voice and important things to say from God’s Word and the history of the Church to help God’s people.

My forthcoming book will get into many of these issues, as will my book after that on a biblical worldview. I will also be doing more content on Equipping You in Grace in the coming days to help God’s people to stand against false teaching. My aim in speaking out against false teaching is to point people to the Word of God. See, that’s what we need. We need the Word of God. Scripture is truly enough for us because it reveals Christ from Genesis to Revelation and everywhere in-between. We need to be taught, and we need to be reminded repeatedly. I need you, and you need me. No one’s voice is more significant than the other. So, the Lord has given me a voice through writing, podcasting, and local church ministry. But He has given you a voice also. We need everyone to stand up and use their voice wherever the Lord has planted them for God’s glory and the good of others.

My prayer is that we will use our gifts, talents, and the voice the Lord has given us. My prayer is that we will be humble, faithful, focused, and bold servants of the grace of the Lord Jesus. Let us contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints by speaking the truth in love seasoned with grace. May the eyes of our heart be set on Jesus. In the days ahead, you’ll often hear me say, “Eyes on Jesus.” It’s a reminder I need to remind myself that my eyes are not to be on my grief or anything else other than Jesus.

We live in the presence of the King who knows us, and our King also intercedes for us and summons us to His throne of grace. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus; let us go to the throne of God’s grace and share with Him our burdens. And then as we do, may we remember our King summons us, and He sends us out with the best news to tell the world of the glad tidings and good news in Christ alone!

What joy we have and a joyous message we have to share with others in Christ alone, dear brothers and sisters. So, as you are reminded, remember that we are to know Christ, and in our knowing Him, He is our treasure. And the more you treasure Christ, the more you will share Christ with others. So let us treasure Christ and share Christ with others for God’s glory and the good of others.

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