Some stains are hard to remove

It was a beautiful day. The sun was out, and I made a plan to get out of the house. After doing a bit of shopping and enjoying a drive in the countryside, I went down a familiar street and stopped where everything stops — at the cemetery.

I had a pitcher of water, a toothbrush and some detergent in the car. My purpose–to work on a dark stain on my parents’ gravestone. While I know it’s the nature of the stones to wear and age, I found it hard that their stone already bore such dark marks. Surely, with a bit of elbow grease, I could get it shining?

I got on my knees and began to work, when I saw a car go by and then another. Looking up, I realized it was a funeral procession. They were just burying their loved one…I was scrubbing on the tomb of mine. I tried not to dwell on it and went back to my task, but the stain would not come clean. Lighter, maybe, clean no. I scolded myself for not researching the solution first. Obviously, a stronger detergent was needed.

I apologized to my mother for not doing a good job, trusting she’d be pleased at least with the effort. Then I thought about the stain of grief, for that’s what it is, or at least, that’s what it feels like. It’s a mark on our hearts that’s not easily removed. Just as the stones are left out in the elements to age and wear, so are the bereaved. We’re marked with the loss, and though we can scrub and wash, it never really leaves us.

Thankfully, Jesus feels my pain. He too was scarred. The King James versions says it best:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.*

His grief, his sorrow was due to the eternal death faced by mankind because of sin. My grief is nothing to his, but I know he understands, just the same. Yet, it’s because of him, my grief is not without hope, and for that I’m eternally grateful. My grief does not leave me in a dark place for long, for the light of the Son keeps me going.

Are you a person of sorrow, acquainted with grief? Turn to the One who can turn your sorrows to joy and despair into hope.

Grace and Peace


*Isaiah 53:3.

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