John 16:20 – Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. (NRSV)
In Newfoundland there is a bay called Bay d'Espoir, which means Bay of Hope.
As a first time devotional writer, I finish what I think will be a series of four and prepare to send them to the Daily editor, when I hear of a loss in our extended family. Finding words to send condolences is hard, but I know that the same Bible search engine which finds verses from fourteen translations for devotional topics will help. From one word submitted, return many scriptural verses through the Internet. In reading, I find strength to express my condolences and eventually return to my writing.
Finishing each devotional, I activate the spell check. Each time I come to the word "d'Espoir", I am asked if I want to change the word to despair. Even the computer, which has been so helpful in writing, blindly suggests that hope should be changed to despair. Each time, I quickly click on the button to ignore the suggestion, until I realize I can change the words within the spell check memory, and my own. I can make a decision to choose hope and not despair. By clicking "learn" to add the word to memory, I know that I have made an important choice, and I have acted on that choice. The Bay of Hope has given me another gift.
Yes, there will be times of mourning in life, and it is natural to experience the pain of those times. Within our grieving process, we discover that we have a choice to let the pain of loss lead us into a darker life-denying despair or to be led through that time of pain into joy.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the inspiration we find within Scripture. As we face pain, help us to remember to open our hearts to You in prayer. We thank You for the healing you nurture in us, allowing joy to eventually blossom out of our pain. Help us to make choices to act, so that we may comfort any who mourn or suffer today, that they too may know peace. Amen.