Help In The Midst of Heartache


“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

The brisk puffs of air carrying the aroma of nearby Gardenias drifted through the screen of my back porch, caressing my face. I watched the leaves on the trees lining my back deck gently flutter in the soft breeze as I slowly rocked, alone with sad thoughts. I was mourning the death of my sweet aunt who recently lost her difficult battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

It is an intense challenge to lose someone through death, and as we travel through life, none of us is exempt from experiencing, at some point, the loss of something or someone near and dear to our heart.

As tears puddled my eyes, a jittery squirrel raced up a tree, scraping his tiny claws against the bark. He hopped over to a neighboring limb, causing the branches to bounce and sound a whooshing echo.

A slide show of fond memories clicked across my mind as a tightness filled my chest.

What do I pray, Lord? There are no words to describe what I’m feeling.

My thoughts drifted to the suffering of my aunt’s family—her daughter, her two sons, her sisters . . . her husband. Anguish pinched my chest as tears began to roll down my cheeks.

How do I pray for them, Lord? I can’t find the right words to say.

The nettlesome squirrel sprung from his branch to yet another, stopping to flick his bushy tail and voice a pronounced series of chatter-clack. Click, click, click. It appeared he was becoming agitated. Tkkktkkkktkkkk. I was becoming a bit annoyed myself as this pesky critter invaded my concentration.

How can I offer comfort, Lord? It’s difficult.

Suddenly, in one fell swoop, the squirrel made a wild leap onto the mirrored sphere of my garden globe that sat atop a ceramic stand. Plshckbleh. The ball crashed to the ground with an instant, sharp thud, smashing slivered fragments of thin glass onto the gravel in a heap next to the deck.


With a heavy sigh, I reflected on how that crushed glass mirrored my crushed emotions. There is sorrow in life. There are periodic circumstances of “shattered glass”. Swiping the moisture from my face, one of my favorite bible verses came to mind.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Beyond any doubt, I know my aunt is now sitting at the feet of Jesus, free of any pain or suffering. I also know from my own faith journey that God doesn’t leave us to suffer alone. For those who believe Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, God has sent the Holy Spirit, also known as the Comforter. We can rest in the strength of the Holy Spirit to bring healing and peace to our hurting hearts. Hear God’s word:

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:25-27

We can take heart in our grieving. God knows our sorrow and readily wraps his arms of love around us. We can receive His power, His comfort, and His peace–especially when we can’t put our prayers into words.

Your heavenly Father holds the entire universe . . . allow Him to hold you today.


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