“I will lift up my eyes to the hills--- where does my help come from?? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”              Psalm 121: 1. Where are you looking for help? Are you looking to the internet? Local friends or family? Books? Other parents? As you look for help, do you sometimes cry out in despair like this writer? Where??? Where will I find help? WHO! Who in the world will help me??? The writer looks to the hills. On the hilltops, all kinds of altars were built to all sorts of “gods.” That’s little “g” gods. Though he looks to the hills, that’s not where this writer finds his help. He finds help in the one true God, maker of heaven and earth, whose temple was in Jerusalem and who is with us always by the Spirit.  

For us too, in this day, we must be discerning when seeking spiritual help.  Even friends or family can give you advice that’s based on false assumptions. There are bad preachers. There is bad theology, especially around the problem of suffering and of life and death. There is the false gospel I’ll call “prosperity”: if you live a good life all in your life will be good. Job faced that misrepresentation of God’s intent and work in his life. There is the school of false thought that says if I pray with the right words in the right attitude, God can do nothing but grant a positive response to my prayer. I believe God gets to decide who, when and how to deal with our requests. He decides. He heals, but not always. He has His plan for each of us which takes some of us over a very rough road. The over-arching principles that He has revealed as the direction of His plans are: that we become more like His Son Jesus, and that His glory and character is apparent. Look for help in His truth.

For me to say “be discerning” is a huge assignment at a time like this, in your grief. Since it’s hard to concentrate due to grief, all mental activity is hard. Here I am asking you to be discerning. Even worse, I may be asking you to grow more discernment than you have been till now. But growing deeper in your understanding of God and His mercy and His agenda is our life long assignment from Him and it is not cancelled for us because we’re grieving. He promises to give us His Spirit as shepherd, guide and teacher. He will help you in this difficult mental activity to grasp the difference between His help and some counterfeit help that comes along. Take it slowly and prayerfully and He will guide you through this chaos of emotion, this grief, this valley of the shadow of death. After all, He has identified Himself as the Light and the Truth. He will help you discern between ideas that come from other “gods” and those which are true.    

Learn to discern. Look to the true God and He will comfort you. He will guide you. He will never leave you alone. He is trustworthy, because His promises are true. He will restore you. Your real help along this path of grief comes from the Lord.    

(Here are some scripture referred to in this discussion: the Book of Job, Romans 8:29, John 9 especially verses 1-3, John 10:11-12, John 14:6, Philippians 1:6)