As the new year began, many spent time looking back at the past year. The accomplishments, the milestones, the faces and places visited, these were the things people recalled.
I have often wondered what it is about the past that keeps us looking back. There seems to be a sense of comfort in what has been experienced and how we felt. Is it something we know, something we can understand? But turning forward; how do we face the unknown? What of those who have had to face devastating loss? How do we ask them to step forward?
A dear friend lost her adult son in a vehicle collision, another friend and his wife lost their sweet newborn daughter just before Christmas, and another precious friend lost her unborn baby. How do we ask them to let go of the past and keep marching forward?
The simple answer is, we don’t.
Instead of looking for words to fill the brokenness they feel, we just need to sit with them in their brokenness and heartache. Something Job’s friends should have done. They kept trying to find reasons for Job’s incredible loss (Job ch. 4- ch. 37). It isn’t our task to find reasons. Just be present.
Eventually, they will be ready to look ahead and begin to hope again. It is when they seek our insights that we can offer the Hope we know in God.
Hope in the Lord renews our strength (Isaiah 40:28-31). Hope in the Lord allows us to face the next day (Lamentations 3:22-23). We can find comfort in the new things God is doing (Isaiah 43:18-19). He offers us strength, to help pull us up from the ashes (Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 61:1-3).
Those who have faced terrible loss will still remember, they should. Their loss changed who they are forever- a sense of before and after, if you will.
And yet. God is still on the Throne. He still offers comfort and healing. He still offers the opportunity to invite Him into the pain and to lean into Him for the strength to go forward again.
When we face forward and not behind, then we will begin to Hope again (Psalm 62:5, Psalm 130:5).
Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit, (Romans 15:13 NLV).