Study Focus: Grieving the News We Hear and Learn
(If you are able read Nehemiah 1:1-11)
Key Verse: As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:4, ESV)
It happens daily: scenes of suffering, the dead and dying, pictures of the starving, homeless, sick, displaced, devastation left after bombing and war, all these things and so much more come before us for us to try and process or live with. Of course, these are not new, these kinds of things have always existed since the beginning of time once sin entered the picture and perfection no longer existed. But because we live in an age where technology is well advanced and we can see or hear of these atrocities in real time it is more impactful, unsettling, and disheartening than ever before. We see the images and are left with deep emotions and thoughts to struggle with.
Nehemiah’s situation was like ours today. He had gotten news that the walls were torn down and the gates burned in his hometown, which meant the people were in great danger from thieves, enemies, and those who would prey on their vulnerable state. That was not encouraging news to learn. In fact, what Nehemiah read caused him to go into mourning. He was so emotionally devastated he could not even eat, only fast and pray.
We all love getting news from home if its good news but when the news isn’t so good, or even heartbreaking we might be just like Nehemiah, grieved to the point of losing our appetite, experiencing insomnia, feeling sick to our stomach. God has an answer for us in situations like these: he helps us recall his faithfulness, power, and promises. He tells us to put our trust in him. He does not even ask that we not be impacted or grieve, just know he has not forgotten us, is not removed from our suffering, and still has a plan to cause even the most heartbreaking things to work out for the good of humanity and to his glory.
For Reflection, Encouragement, and Application:
What emotions are you feeling, thoughts are you having, and feelings are you left with as you witness the atrocities of our time?
Do you find yourself grieving what you hear and see just like Nehemiah? What have you determined to do with your grief or sorrow?
What do you know about God that helps you experience a degree of comfort or peace during when you receive or see things that are painful or difficult to take?
Mighty God may we always remember and turn to you when we receive or witness things that are just too hard for us to bear or take in. Thank you for pointing us back to you and for giving us peace and comfort even when the things we learn grieve and upset us. Amen