“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’"
When we lose a loved one we can come to feel we have been exiled to a land of grief, never to return to the place where we once experienced joy. We long for what we once had and wonder how we will step through the days ahead of us. Where will we go? What will we do? We can wander in confusion or look to the God of Love who answers us with a simple directive: "Go on living. Embrace each day and walk with me. There is much healing to be done and it can only happen by continuing to walk through the shadowed valley hand-in-hand with me. I understand your grief. I have been there. I will rescue you and bring you back to a land of joy (Jeremiah 29:10-14). That time is coming. Trust me and wait for me to bring it about."
"Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as 'in all points tempted like as we are,' bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us." (Alexander MacLaren)