Words of Hope Daily Devotional

The Words of Hope Devotional is a non-profit, donor-supported publication whose goal is to encourage readers to grow in faith through the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer. The devotional is available in your email, in print, and as an app in Google Play and the App Store.

The Garden of Grief

Read: Matthew 26:36-46

My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. (v. 38)

The garden of Gethsemane scene may be familiar to you. One spring weekend, this story was no longer just a distant scene for me to imagine—I received a personal invitation into my own garden of grief when my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Though you may not have experienced infant loss firsthand, we all carry some degree of grief, whether unspoken or realized. Grief is a natural by-product of experiencing the pain of life in a sin-stained world.

How does the account of Jesus’ experience in the garden of Gethsemane more than 2,000 years ago change the pain you carry today? First, it provides the undeniable reality that Jesus also experienced the grief of pain, loss, and hurt. Second, it gives us a front-row seat to witness one of Jesus’ most sorrowful episodes. He described his soul feeling “very sorrowful, even to death” (v. 38). He then fell on his face to plead with God to take this cup of pain away from him (v. 39).

When I miscarried my baby, I was invited to my own garden of grief, where like Jesus, I pleaded with God to take the pain away. When faced with your worst nightmare of deep pain, it’s common to enter a place like this. And what can be found in your personal garden of grief? Jesus—with a tear-stained face and the warm hug of a lifelong friend—waiting for you, suffering with you, and lamenting with you. —Rachel Lohman

As you pray, imagine Jesus kneeling beside you in your current garden of grief.

About the Author

Rachel Lohman is the mom of two toddlers and founder of Hope Again Collective. She lives outside of Los Angeles where she helps lead a bilingual church, The Bridge Chino, alongside her husband, Mark.

Ben Van Arragon

Just Ask

Read: Luke 11:9-13 The heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (v. 13) Parenting coach and therapist Mary Van Geffen said in a 2021 Instagram post: “We use words to build each other up and ask

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Ben Van Arragon

Self-Control

Read: Titus 2:1-8 The grace of God . . . teaches us . . . to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. (vv. 11-12 NIV) In 1972, Stanford University conducted a study of “delayed gratification.” The now-famous “marshmallow experiment” tested children’s ability to forego an immediate reward

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Ben Van Arragon

Gentleness

Read: Matthew 11:28-30 I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (v. 29) My best friend once recounted play-wrestling with his three-year-old son. The toddler was about to pounce on his head when my

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Ben Van Arragon

Faithfulness

Read: Hebrews 10:19-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (v. 23) In Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “The essential thing ‘in heaven and in earth’ is . . . that there

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Ben Van Arragon

Goodness

Read: Matthew 5:13-16 Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works. (v. 16) As a pastor, I regularly encounter people outside the church who say, “I don’t go to church, but I try to be

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Ben Van Arragon

Kindness

Read: Romans 2:1-4 God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (v. 4) In his memoir, actor Danny Trejo describes how he once accidentally stumbled into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting while trying to crash a rival gang’s house party. Trejo,

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Ben Van Arragon

Patience

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 As we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (v. 5) Years ago, my wife noticed a peculiar phenomenon. Every time I got in line at the grocery store, a fast-food

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Ben Van Arragon

Peace

Read: John 14:23-27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. (v. 27) In a 2021 interview with Vanity Fair magazine, actress Jennifer Lawrence disclosed that a recent period of overwork and burnout had been driven by a

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Ben Van Arragon

Joy

Read: James 1:2-5, 16-18 Count it all joy . . . when you meet trials of various kinds. (v. 2) During my early years as a pastor, I led a retirees’ Bible study of the book of James. When we reached James 1:2, one

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