Finding Joy in the Midst of Grief
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. - Daniel 6:23
I can still see the sunny Sunday morning sun piercing through the windows as I got dressed to meet my friend for coffee. We met every Sunday before church to talk ministry, marriage, and all things life. In this particular season, I was in a hard place of trying to become pregnant. Unfortunately, I know some of you know this season all too well. You feel like every commercial on TV is about pregnancy tests, diapers, and baby toys. Not to mention every time you open up a social media app on your phone there is yet another announcement of a birth or pregnancy.
That Sunday morning, just as I bent over to grab my jeans from the drawer, I felt the Lord boldly place on my heart my friend was pregnant. My eyes filled with tears, my mind filled with questions, and my heart grieved because again, someone else was getting the blessing I was praying for.
My grief clouded all of the joy God had been gifting me. I remember thinking in a weird way I should be joyfully thanking God for His kindness in sharing this news with me before I got blindsided over a cup of coffee.
It’s a hard thing when you find yourself in a season full of His blessings; comfort, provision, community, but you can’t see any of them when your heart is sinking in grief. I remember asking the Lord, “why her and not me, why can’t I be happy for everyone else, why can’t I be happy with what I do have?”
The asking of these questions created a pivotal point in my walk with Jesus. I realized joy can’t be based on my circumstances. True joy from Christ comes from our relationship with Him, not the circumstance He’s allowed us to be in.
Daniel, and his experience in the lions’ den, is who comes to mind when I think of someone who had a supernatural peace and joy in Christ. He could’ve much more easily allowed the grief of his situation cloud God’s goodness. People scheming against him, then telling him he cannot pray to his God for 30 days, then arrested for praying in private, and wrongly stuck in the lions’ den. That to me sounds like a whole lot of grief-filled happenings.
Now, I am not comparing myself to Daniel because one, I am not him and two, my situation didn’t match the magnitude of his. BUT, his life story in the Bible is one that shows us how important it is to have a heart that deeply trusts what God is doing even when we cannot trace His hands. Many people would’ve validated Daniel feeling abandoned, but Daniel knew The Lord was working in it all.
Due to us living in a fallen world we will certainly find ourselves in places of pain. Hard, grief-filled seasons will, unfortunately, find their way on the pages of our story. Allowed and permitted, used for good, but never wanted for us by God. In the wise words of Lysa TerKerust, “It’s not supposed to be this way.” God didn’t intend grief to plague our lives, but sin made it what it is. By his grace and mercy, He’s given us a way to be delivered from it all, thank you for the gift of Jesus. I love how in Daniel’s story he doesn’t stop praying once the law was put into place to not pray to any other God except King Darius for 30 days. Insert whatever season you are in; infertility, loss, estranged family, broken marriage, disobedient children, addiction crisis. Never cease praying, don’t let this part of your life steal the gift Christ died to give you. Your life, this moment, this season is a testimony being written by The Lord when you allow Him to work in and through it.
Look at Daniel’s story, it was King Darius who asked through the stone door, “has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions.” Someone will absolutely ask you, “how did you make it,” “what did you put your hope in,” The Lord doesn’t waste anything. He will give you a person to share His goodness with, and because you never stopped leaning into Him you’ll have able to respond just like Daniel, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.”
I am so thankful God didn’t leave this season of grief out of my story, not only did he not leave it out, but He joined me in it. He prepared my heart for a moment that would’ve left me feeling completely alone. I’m so thankful He permitted me to be in a place of finding His gift of joy in the penning of grief. Finding joy in grief comes from trusting God’s goodness no matter what the ending looks like. A true lasting joy-filled life will all begin with where we find it. If it’s found bound to people, places., things, and circumstances it won’t be around for long. But when tethered to Christ and trusting His penning of the story it will be deeply planted in the depths of your soul.
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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