In life, we all certainly like mountaintop experiences better than valleys — the air is clean, the sun is shining, and the view is amazing. But the truth is, we’re going to go through valleys. It’s inevitable.
There is a familiar feeling that many who are going through grief (or loss) may feel...yet many do not have the ability to label it. It is a feeling that envelops a grieving heart, but is so subtle that many do not even realize how it is planting itself deeply down into the roots of their soul.
I don’t know what your loss looks like today and I wouldn’t dare minimize it. Take your time to grieve the loss. Take your time; let time heal the wounds of the loss. But please know: you haven’t lost everything. God is with you. As a born again child of the King, your salvation isn’t lost. Your future beyond this earth is secure.
It doesn’t matter how you feel today. It doesn’t matter if you can’t feel God’s presence. Feelings are temporary and fleeting. What is true is that He is with you. Satan would like nothing more than to convince you otherwise. There are thousands of lies that Satan will whisper in your ear. But that’s just it. They are lies - lies from the pit of Hell, designed strategically to hold you down, destroy you, steal you your hope, and kill the joy of your future. Do not stand for it. (From When You’ve Lost Everything)
Death. It is an inescapable fact of life.
Ecclesiastes 3:2,4 (NLT2)2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
Nothing in life can prepare us for the death of a loved one. Whether death results from a sudden accident or a sustained illness, it always catches us off-guard. Death is so deeply personal and stunningly final, nothing can emotionally prepare us for its arrival.
With every death, there is a loss. And with every loss, there will be grief.
Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines “grief” as a, deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. Its origins from the Middle English and Anglo-French word “gref” denoting injustice or calamity and from the Vulgar Latin word “grevis” or “gravis” meaning heavy.
In essence, grief could be described as a heavy, calamitous injustice to our souls.
Grief doesn’t come and go in an orderly, confined time frame. Just when we think the pangs of anguish have stolen their last breath, another wave sweeps in and we are forced to revisit the memories, the pain, the fear.
Sometimes we try to resist the demands of grieving. We long to avoid this fierce, yet holy pilgrimage. We fight against the currents, terrified of being overwhelmed, of being discovered, of becoming lost in our brokenness.
We feel disconnected from everything around us. Our thoughts scatter like the wind, with little to glue them down. Our emotional skin feels intensely fragile to the touch.
It’s been four and a half years since Ruth, my wife of forty years went to be with the Lord, and to be perfectly honest I’m not over it yet. I don’t mean that I’m wallowing in sorrow but I am still grieving. It’s not as bad as it was for the first year or so but I admit that I’m still grieving. I don’t have periods of weeping or moping around but there are times that I just say “wow I really miss you Ruth” or “I wish Ruth was here to help me with this decision”. There are times, and it happens frequently, when I’ll be driving down the street perhaps in a area that I haven’t visited in an long time, I’ll pass a building, or corner or for no reason at all I’ll think Ruth and I passed here, or we went here and I’ll smile. There are times that I see, as clear as day, the first time that we met. I even remember what she was wearing, I can’t remember what I had on but I remember what she was wearing.
We all grieve differently and now that I’ve been in the grief process for over three years I would never try to advise anybody of how to grieve.
Pray your pain out. Pound the table. March up and down the lawn. It’s time for tenacious, honest prayers. Angry at God? Disappointed with his strategy? Ticked off at his choices? Let Him know it. Let Him have it! Jeremiah did. This ancient prophet pastored Jerusalem during a time of economic collapse and political upheaval. Invasion. Disaster. Exile. Hunger. Death. Jeremiah saw it all. He so filled his devotions with complaints that his prayer journal is called Lamentations.
Jeremiah infused five chapters with this type of fury. Summarize the bulk of his book with one line: this life is rotten! Why would God place Lamentations in the Bible? Might it be to convince you to follow Jeremiah’s example?
Go ahead and file your grievance.
Psalm 142:2 (NLT2)2 I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles.
God will not turn away at your anger. Even Jesus offered up prayers with “loud cries and tears”
Hebrews 5:7 (NLT2) 7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. (emphasis mine)
It is better to shake a fist at God than to turn your back on Him. Augustine said, “How deep in the deep are they who do not cry out of the deep.”- From How to Pray in Hard Times by Max Lucado from You'll Get Through This
By Lisa Murray
Take a few days, weeks perhaps, to grieve, but don’t stay there too long. Grieving can make those around us uncomfortable. Friends sometimes don’t know what to do with our pain. Loved ones struggle to find adequate words to comfort our aching wounds.
Yet grief, as painful a season as it is, is a necessary part of our healing. To run from grief is to run from the very thing that can quell the pain of our loss. English poet William Cowper, described grief as medicine. Grief cleanses the anguish from our souls and sets us back up on the path of life so we can dance.
Grieving is the process God uses to bring us to a place of wholeness. Grieving is His great gift to us. It is a necessary part of our journey.
1. Create space to grieve.
Don’t hurry past the pain. Don’t distract yourself from the sorrow. You will experience strong emotions —anger, depression, fear, and despair— that you may never have experienced before. Allow yourself to feel these emotions in the presence of God. Create intentional space to simply be and trust that is enough.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT2)18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 147:3 (NLT2)3 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
Matthew 5:4 (NLT2)4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
2. Be honest about your emotions.
Being a Christian does not mean that we don’t feel negative emotions. God doesn't want us to run from our emotions or hide behind a mask. He wants his children to come to Him with complete honesty. In the Psalms, God invites us to bring our honest grief to Him.avid depicts God as a loving Father who watches over His children and listens for their cries.
Psalm 34:15 (NLT2)15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.
Don't hide your emotions. Don’t ignore your pain. Cry. Laugh. Scream, knowing that God is right there with you. He will hold you in His arms while you heal. He loves and cares for you.
3. Don’t grieve alone.We need support while we grieve.
Find individuals to walk with you. Whether it’s a loved-one, a friend, a therapist, or a support group, we need the ministry of compassion that can only come as we walk in community with others.
Don’t isolate. Find people who can be there for you. Look around for those God has put in your path to support you and encourage you on your journey. Grieving is one of the most difficult seasons – don’t walk this season alone.
4. Don’t lose hope.Trust that this season won’t last forever.
There will be other seasons to come.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT2)13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
We have hope. We not only have the hope that this season of mourning will end, we have the hope that as Believers, only a thin veil separates us from our ultimate destiny with Christ in heaven for eternity. There is no greater hope!
Revelation 21:4 (NLT2)4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT2)11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!