In essence, grief could be described as a heavy, calamitous injustice to our souls.
When we experience a loss in our lives we experience every emotion we know in that grief; anger, love, fear, hope, insecurity, abandonment – you name it. We all have our losses. They come in many different forms. They come as death of a loved one, separation, children leaving home, moving, conflict, job change, retirement, aging, disappointment.
Grief doesn’t come and go in an orderly fashion. Just when we think we can’t take anymore, another wave of grief sweeps over us, and we are forced to revisit the memories, the pain, the fear
Sometimes we try to resist the demands of grieving. We don’t want to go through this necessary journey. We fight against the times of being afraid of being overwhelmed, of being discovered, of becoming lost and alone. We feel disconnected from everything around us. Our thoughts are all over the place. Grief is so complicated, and is always filled with guilt In many ways our experiences with grief are all the same. We all go through the same stages of shock, denial and guilt.
- First we say: “It couldn’t happen.”
- Then we say: “It didn’t happen.”
- Then we say: “Oh, if only I had . . . Oh, why didn’t I. . . . do this or that?”
We somehow feel responsible for everything. We take the whole thing on ourselves.
These are all experiences in which we feel real grief, and all our strong emotions rise up in us and flow over us like the deep waters that Isaiah talks about going through.
Isaiah 43:1-5 NIV But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he whoformed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; youare mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
We wonder: If we start to cry, will we ever stop? Or will the flood tide take us with it. We
hold back and hide our grief because we imagine that once we begin to really feel it, we won’t be able to bear it.
Many people hide their grief for years, and it gnaws away at them from the inside. Then it comes with a vengeance: 2 months later, 5 years later, 20 years later. Eventually our grief catches up with us, and we know that thing could, and did, happen, and there was nothing we could do about it.
“If only I had known,” we say. But do we think Jesus didn’t know? Do we really think the Lord didn’t know all of that? Not a sparrow falls without the Lord knowing it. He knows the number of all our days, and He is there.
Matthew 6:26-30 CEV Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth much more than birds? Can worry make you live longer? Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. God will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?
Now that doesn’t mean things don’t go wrong or that there will not be evil that affects our lives and our deaths. The Lord has told us that there is evil. But He has also assured us that before it even happens He has already overcome all of it and is able to bring good out of all of it for those
who love Him.
John 16:33 NIV I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He is there before and during and after. “As you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you, and they shall not overwhelm you.”
From the YouVersion Reading Plan Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships
Wouldn't it be nice if life was like a neat little Hollywood movie?
A problem would present itself...there'd always be a short time for the problem to run its course...there'd be a neat and tidy solution to the problem...everybody involved would learn a powerful life lesson...people would see the folly of their ways and instantly become a much better person...the situation would have a dazzling happy ending...and everyone would get along and live happily ever after.
Sounds nice, doesn't it? Just writing that makes me wish a few trials I'm presently going through would experience the cheesiness of a Hollywood movie ending!
The thing is, that usually is not what happens in majority of people's lives.
- conflict happen within marriages and families
- illness sometimes cannot be healed
- a child rebels and moves out regardless of how much their parent loves and treasures them
- a person gets laid off no matter how much good they've invested into their job
- people are rejected and mistreated by family and others no matter how hard they try
- people disappoint us and we disappoint other people
- terrible tragedies happen everyday
We live in a fallen world filled with fallible people...and we are fallible ourselves. Life can be frustrating.
So how do we change things to make life better?
It's not what you think...
We think we must change other people or our circumstances to find our happy ending...but the truth is, our focus needs to be:
1. Delighting in God
2. Doing our responsibilities
3. Waiting on God to work in HIS time in HIS way
Psalms 37:4 NLT Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Difficult to do...Especially when your world around you is falling apart.
We desperately want our situation(s) to change. We want our loved ones to do the right thing. We want a great life. We greatly desire harmony in our marriages, families, and relationships. We want justice for the times we have been wronged.
We want to meet our goals, be successful, and also be valued for our work by our employers and colleagues. We want a better financial situation. We want family and friends to love and value us. In short...we all want the silver lining in every area of our life!
What if we never are given our silver lining? God has one question for us: "If our lives..or circumstances..never changed, would we still love Him and continue to be devoted and loyal to Him?"
On the journey to God's best for our lives, we must first seek God. As we learn to love, obey, treasure, and delight in Him..regardless of our circumstances, grief, or losses...we find He is the true treasure we've always needed.
One of the best promises God gives to us is that He will be making up for all the heartache, pain, tears, frustrations, and failures we experience in life.
Joel 2:23-27 NLT Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced.
God is all powerful. Sometimes, He will give us the desires of our hearts here on earth...other times, He has us wait...and waiting is HARD. It goes completely against our human nature and tendencies.
I can guarantee you this: One day, all of God's children WILL experience the happy ending they crave. God has a purpose and plan through EVERY situation.
By Rick Warren
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (Psalm 34:18 NCV).
Every one of us will experience loss in life, so how does God heal a broken heart? You don’t get over a loss. You can’t go under it; you can’t go around it. You’ve got to go through the grief. And if you’re scared to express emotion and refuse to go through it, that’s where you get stuck.
But how do you get unstuck? You let God help you. Here are six ways God blesses a broken heart.
1. God draws you close to himself.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed” (NCV). When you grieve, you may feel like God is a million miles away. But what you feel and what’s real are not always the same thing. God isn’t a million miles away. In fact, he’s never been any closer.
2. God grieves with you.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief”(Isaiah 53:3 NLT). When you come to Jesus with your grief, he knows what you’re talking about, and he understands your pain. God is a sympathetic. He’s not aloof. He’s not apathetic. He’s not standing on the sidelines. He grieves with you.
3. God gives you a church family for support.
We’re meant to grieve in community. Healing comes in groups. Healing comes in the church. Healing comes in community. We’re better together!
“In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others . . . Be devoted to each other like a loving family . . . Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:5, 10, 15 NIV/GW/NIV).
4. God uses grief to help you grow.
God uses grief and even pain to help you become more like Christ, and he does it in three ways:
God uses pain to get your attention (Proverbs 20:30), he brings good out of bad (Romans 8:28), and he prepares you for eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
5. God gives you the hope of heaven.
There are many people who grieve without hope. Your life on this earth is short, but if you believe in Jesus Christ and trust him for your salvation, then you have the hope of spending eternity in heaven with God, and that hope will sustain you through your time of loss. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “We don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope” (GW).
6. God uses your pain to help others.
This is called redemptive pain; it is the highest and best use of the pain you go through. God does not want you to waste a hurt. “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT).