Don’t forget the Diet Coke

The way God stirs a person’s heart for a ministry and starts to lay the foundation for this work is utterly amazing. Some of the greatest ministries have come through hardship, pain, and loss. So many foundations are started from pain of the loss of a loved one. Awareness crusades against drunk driving and drugs. Many safety rules, regulations, and safer products have come from those who have lost someone tragically pushing to prevent others from sharing their same grief. It seems as though at this point in time God is leading me to minister to those who are grieving out of my very own grief. Loss of someone you love through death is not necessarily the only cause to grieve. A break in a relationship of any kind will stir grief. Many times there is grief for the loss of health long before a person takes their final breath. Teenage girls and boys go through the stages of grief especially with the first break ups as they start to date and experience young love. Any changes in life can bring about a certain level of grief as the old patterns and familiarity pass away. Grief knows no social, economic, cultural, religious, language, or ethnic barriers. The basic human needs and emotions are the same for all of us.

I was reminded today of the sting that grief brings shopping at the grocery store for a family get together. A bad habit, but my father loved to drink caffeine free Diet Coke. This was a habit I had harassed him to change for a long time. With family parties I still would make sure I bought his favorite soda to drink. At the store I walked past Coke products and the thought “Oh I need to get dad his caffeine free Diet Coke!” fleeted through my mind. As I walked up to the bottles of Coke products my heart sank as I realized that there was no need. Memories of him had been flooding my mind more today than usual. I had not consciously thought of the fact that it was four months ago today that he died, but apparently my subconscious was very aware.

The fact that we all experience grief reminds me that even people that are hard to love may be going through an incredible silent pain. The fact that we all grieve reminds me to have more patience and compassion. The fact that we all grieve reminds me to smile and encourage others more. There are no levels to the experience of loss and each person will experience it in their own way. It is not fair for us to ever think that someone else has a “piece of cake” life because none of us are immune to loss.
As I mentioned in the beginning that some of the greatest ministries of God’s love have come from loss. The greatest ministry being that of His own Son Jesus. Jesus came to this earth fully God and yet fully human. He lived a sinless life. He took the payment of all of our sins on the cross. He grieved in His walk on this earth, he demonstrated tremendous grief as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His greatest grief was at the point on the cross where all the sins of all of mankind were laid upon Him suffering complete separation from God the Father at this point in time. His pain and grief led to His resurrection three days later which leads to the most beautiful promise of love, hope, and redemption fathomable. God’s greatest gift is the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Oh yes we will suffer pain, loss, and grief, but for those who put their faith in Jesus there is indescribable beauty waiting on the other side!!!!!!
1Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”

1John 3:5 “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”

John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

John 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Matthew 26-39 “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Matthew 27:46 “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).”

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