Lamentations 3:22-23 – It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (KJV)
Isaiah 57:12 – I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee. (KJV)
Psalm 111:4 – He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. (KJV)
Throughout my life, especially while experiencing the loss of our parents, and including the past ten years as a volunteer with those who are terminally ill and bereaved, I've found God's comforting graciousness expressed in many, many wonderful ways.
Recently, within the space of two short weeks, we have experienced the passing of two relatives and two acquaintances — and also some of the ways in which God gives us little gifts prior to or during the news of a death that lets us look back upon it and say a silent "Thank You".
This summer, while on the east coast of Canada, we took a day to meet up with my Ontario cousin who was vacationing in Maine, USA. We had lunch, and then carried on to an art gallery to view Andrew Wyeth's works of art. Near the end, she and I were impressed with a verse on a wall in the hall about life and where we all fit into it. We sat on a bench, and I wrote as she read it aloud. We later learned that it was at that very time that her family had been calling to let her know that our mutual uncle had died. How gracious that we two, who live so many miles apart, had been given that special moment in time together!
Once home, less than two weeks later, another close relative called to tell me that her father had passed away. While we were talking, a hummingbird hovered over my feeder, extracting nectar from each of the four "flowers". Not unusual perhaps, except that hummingbirds don't stop at my feeder to drink. They always flit close to it, and then fly away. The beauty of the bird, as it took time to drink, served to soften the news that we'd hoped we wouldn't have had to hear so soon.
The next day, I noticed a bud on a rosebush that blooms in May and September. Each day it opened more and more, until, on the fourth day, the day of his funeral, my rose was in full bloom. Even during times when we mourn the loss of loved ones, God in His graciousness reminds us of the fragility and beauty of life in many different ways.
Prayer: O gracious Father, You are the ultimate comforter and giver of peace. May our hearts and minds be open to the subtle little signs that You show us of Your care and compassion that surrounds us. May our ears be open to hear You, our eyes be open to see You, and our hearts be open to receive You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.