A friend died unexpectedly, leaving behind his wife and several children. I talked with his widow (also a dear friend) just a few days after his death. She was heartbroken, but also amazed that God had already used her husband’s death to inspire two individuals to receive salvation in Jesus. She then explained that she had gathered her children together and said something like this: “It’s okay to be angry and to express your emotions to God, but please don’t let this affect your faith in Him. How tragic would it be if you turned away from God even as these people turned to Him?”

Although she was in grief and pain, she was clinging to God and His everlasting love.

Jeremiah and the people of Judah also knew pain and heartache. They had come under the oppression of Babylonia and were torn away from their homeland. Defeat and destruction had led to grief and hopelessness. But God gave the prophet some words of hope: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” (Jeremiah 31:3). He went on to explain that one day He would rebuild the nation, gardens would again flourish in the land, and happiness and dancing would once again be enjoyed by the people (Jeremiah 31:4-7). In essence he was saying, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

My friend’s wife could express wise words of hope to her children because she knew she could trust in the love and provision of God. His “good gifts” would remain (Jeremiah 31:14). And even though she was experiencing fear and the sting of grief, she could rest in the arms of the One who said to His people, “I will turn their mourning into joy” (Jeremiah 31:13). His love is everlasting.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 20:13-38