– Good Grief! –

Psalm 119:71,
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
We often respond to various situations with the exclamation, “Good Grief!” If we stopped to think for a moment, is grief really that good? The Bible suggests that grief can be “good” if we respond with faith and obedience to the Lord in the midst of our grief.
The following are a few ways that grief can actually benefit us and be good:
  • If it prompts me to examine my spiritual health and my walk with the Lord.
    Though we understand that not all grief is the result of personal sin, yet sin does cause grief. When we are going through affliction (“grief”), it is wise to first do a spiritual “self-examination” and make sure that I am not bringing this difficulty upon myself. In 1 Corinthians 11 God’s Word states that many in the church there were “weak and sickly” and that some had even died because they were taking part in the Lord’s supper “unworthily.” God’s instruction was for them to “examine” themselves. How much heartache and grief in our lives could be avoided it we would be careful to maintain a humble and godly walk with the Lord.
  • If it provokes me to help and encourage others going through difficult times.
    As stated above, much of the grief and trials in life are not necessarily the result of personal sin, yet God allows us to go through very trying times. 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 tells us that the comfort God gives us in times of heartache and grief is to be shared with others going through hardships. The grief we face in life is designed to help us sympathize and help others that are going through difficulties.
  • If it prepares me for greater service for the Lord. 
    A.W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” I might modify that statement a bit to read, “It is doubtful whether God can [use] a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” Of course, God can use anyone who will fully yield to Him in faith and obedience, but it seems that those whom God uses in great ways to help others are folks who have been through heartaches and grief. Read the biographies of the great men and women of God throughout church history and I believe you will find this to be true.
  • If it clears my perspective of God’s holiness, love and power
    It is often when my eyes are filled with tears of grief that my perception of God’s love, wisdom, holiness, and power is clearest.
  • If I recognize the presence of God in the midst of my grief.
    Psalm 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” If in our times of trouble we become self-centered and indulge in self-pity (“woe is me! Nobody has it as bad a me!”) then we’ll miss the very real and special presence of God. The Bible is clear, a broken and contrite heart, the Lord will not despise.
Some of the greatest, sweetest, most mature and godly Christians I have ever met have been dear folks who have gone through some of the most overwhelming grief and heartache. But, they trusted God, gave themselves to be a blessing to others that were hurting, saw God’s hand in their hardship and became better people and Christians as a result of their grief. It truly was, “good grief” for them and can be for you and I.
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