In the midst of a season of incredible losses in our world I asked my step father & Pastor Bill Bierling to share his pastoral insights. Bill has helped shepherd many through times of severe grief and suffering through promises of God’s Word.
I’m blessed to be in my 60th year as a pastor. It has been a remarkable journey highlighted
by incredible experiences with the people I served, the young and the old. Currently, I am in the process of writing my journey in a book, “The Heartbeat of a Pastor’s Heart.” As I have reflected on all that has happened in these years, I have been confronted often on the subject of, “Death and Dying.” Thus, the title of this blog, “Joy Comes in the Morning.” Words from Psalm 30:5.
This is a personal journey of mine dealing with death, as I walked through or should I say mourned through my losses.
“Joy comes in the Morning” are the words that are written on the headstone of my first wife’s grave. It has been 30 years since she passed away at the young age of 52. So many questions asked with no answers.
Since then I have grieved the loss of a grandson, who received two heart transplants but they failed, a stillborn birth of a granddaughter and miscarriages of family members. There have been the deaths that I’m sure you have also experienced of grandparents, parents and family members. Most recently, my two daughters lost their husbands suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 60. So many questions asked with no answers.
What am I as a pastor and dad to make of all of this? What are you to make of your own experiences with death? All around us we read of the number of Covid related deaths and now the casualties of the war in Ukraine. Hunger, disease, inhumane treatment and other atrocious killings continue. Death is everywhere in the world we live in.
What do I say? Do I have an answer? I remember the words of Psalm 30:5. ” Weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes in the morning.”
Then I go to what I have learned from all the families for whom I have done memorial services, especially the “senior saints.”
What is their way through loss? You could have guessed it. They most often go to Psalm 23. “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me ….. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Lord forever.”
Another meaningful passage is found in John 14:3. ” Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”
The Word & wisdom of the people of God in dealing with their losses has been a source of strength for me. I am comforted.
The faith of the people of God and believing in His promises in dealing with all of their losses has been a source of strength to me. I am comforted.
JOY WILL COME IN THE MORNING!