I read Psalm 34 this morning and it always give me great comfort and hope. “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him; …but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. The Lord redeems His servants.

This chapter tell us, “… let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” I didn’t understand this part. We are so very afflicted with the death of our family. Why in the world would we want to rejoice? It didn’t make sense. So, after praying about this and hearing a sermon on what it means to rejoice; or to have joy, I learned that this “joy” is a far cry from being “happy”. I’m not all that happy right now. But I can still have joy. Happiness is a fleeting emotion. Today I might find myself happy about something and giggle. A few minutes later I may be so sad over this loss that I will be weeping uncontrollably. Joy is a gift. A gift of the Holy Spirit. Joy is a deep “knowing” that no matter what I am going through, no matter the afflictions I can still rejoice.

Why should I rejoice? So, I won’t give Satan any room to get a foothold in any part of this situation and steal my hope and peace that God has given me. My emotions are too raw and I’m vulnerable to give in to fear and question God’s goodness towards me.

Others have told me that they don’t know how I can be so strong. I know others have seen this strength in me and I tell them that it is a strength that only God can give. A strength and a faith that lets me know that things will be okay. I sought the Lord and He answered me. He delivered me from all fears. I have strength because the angel of the Lord encamps around me and He delivers me. The Lord is good and I am blessed because I takes refuge in Him. I know that because I seek Him I will lack no good thing. The eyes of the Lord are on me and His ears are attentive to my cries. Jesus will deliver me from all my troubles. The Lord is close to me because I am so brokenhearted. This world is not my home and until I go to Heaven I will face many troubles, heartache and pain. BUT GOD will protect me and He will redeem me.

God will turn these ashes into beauty. I trust Him and I give Him the glory. I will continue to seek His peace and joy in all of this. I thank You, Jesus, that Your ears are attentive to our cries of grief. I know my Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.