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  • Courtney Webb

Love in a Grieving World

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

This week, as I’ve pondered this topic of “Love in a Grieving World,” I’m reminded of a song that feels like an old friend to me. This song, called “Our Hope Endures” by Natalie Grant, found its way to me ten years ago, and ever since that time I have found it to be a comfort and companion in my seasons of grief, or days when I come especially near to the suffering of another person. It gives me the words I need to cry out to God when I struggle to find them on my own. It gives words to the pain and suffering that we each encounter at one time or another in this life.


This year, there has undeniably been an unprecedented amount of suffering, death, hopelessness, and strife in our world. As a hospital chaplain, I have been witness to it firsthand. I will be the first to admit that it’s been difficult to know what to do about any of it. There are no easy answers. So we grieve. We cry. We name it. We confide. We listen. We ask why. We keep showing up.





And then, somewhere along the way in the midst of the grieving, the refrain washes over me again and again: Emmanuel, God is with us. El Shaddai all sufficient. Emmanuel, God is with us. El Shaddai, all sufficient.


No matter the sufferings we encounter personally, collectively, or globally, we can lean into the promise that our God is a God who is near, who is with us, who is radically immanent, who is abundantly good, and who is enough for the flourishing of all of creation. Isn’t that all we really need after all when we are in the pit of grief, or in the middle of the longest global pandemic? Someone to show up for us. To sit with us. To listen. To demonstrate they care by their emotional presence, whether it comes to us via the physical or the virtual realm (#2020).


This is the love that gives birth to hope. This is the love that comes near to brokenness of all kinds. This is the love that is born in Bethlehem, that the angels tell the shepherds will change everything. This is the love that we are invited into over and over again every time we open our eyes in the morning. This hope doesn’t immediately fix all the brokenness, but it does endure while love journeys with us.



“Our Hope Endures” by Natalie Grant, 2009


You would think only so much can go wrong

Calamity only strikes once

And you assume that this one has suffered her share

Life will be kinder from here


Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years

Sometimes the sky rains night after night

When will it clear

But our hope endures the worst of conditions

It's more than our optimism

Let the earth quake

Our hope is unchanged


How do we comprehend peace within pain

Our joy at a good man's wake

Walk a mile with a woman whose body is torn

With illness but she marches on


Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years

Sometimes the sky rains night after night

When will it clear


But our hope endures the worst of conditions

It's more than our optimism

Let the earth quake

Our hope is unchanged


Emmanuel, God is with us

El Shaddai, all sufficient

Emmanuel, God is with us

El Shaddai, all sufficient

Emmanuel, God is with us

El Shaddai, all sufficient


We never walk alone

This is our hope

Our hope endures, the worst of conditions

It's more than our optimism

Let the earth quake

Let the earth quake

Let the earth quake

Our hope is unchanged


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