Ever have one of those days when tragedy and heartache overwhelm like a flood? Sometimes it seems grief is everywhere. I receive reports through the news, friends and relatives, church circles and my social interactions. Some days it’s almost more than I can take. Parents losing children, marriages dissolving, lives ended suddenly by freak accidents or horrific crimes, children mistreated, poverty & disease rampant, people fighting serious illnesses, homeless men and women freezing to death overnight, unemployment rising, houses foreclosing, teenagers giving up on life …

Today is one of those days I can’t contain the tears. It’s as if I’m getting a taste of the world’s grief as God sees it and mourns it, and I’m overwhelmed.

Music soothes me. So I moved my heavy heart to the piano bench, pulled out an old Cindy Morgan piano book of some of her best ballads, and worked out my grief on the keys. The second song I played is called I Will Be Free. I haven’t played it in a while, don’t know if I’ve ever read the words all the way through. But something nudged me to do so …

The mountains are steep and the valleys low. Already I’m weary, but I have so far to go. Oh, and sorrow holds my hand and suffering sings me songs. But when I close my eyes, I know to whom I belong, who makes me strong. I will be free. I will be free to run the mountains. I will be free, free to drink from the living fountain. Oh, I’ll never turn back, ’cause He awaits for me. Oh, I will be free …

Grief thrives in moments of tragedy, and it’s easy to get stuck there, weighed down by all the pain and our lack of control. Tragedy and heartache will always come, which means grief will always be at our door. And, yes, at times it will overwhelm us, even make us despair of life.

But it’s not the end of the story. Grief doesn’t get the last word. Read that again if you need to! Our story is one that begins with “In the beginning God created,” builds with a glorious and unexpected “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son,” and ends with a finale unlike any you’ve ever seen before: “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne says, “I am making everything new!'”

I may be crying today. But my eyes are on the horizon.

What helps you cope with life’s heartache?

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