A Lesson In Grief
Grief generally comes at some point in our lives here on earth. It may come early or late, often or seldom. It can feel solitary and overwhelming. We don’t get over the loss of someone, but we have to learn to live with that loss. How do I live with the loss, if I haven’t been taught? I read in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that we don’t grieve as others do that have no hope. I have hope, yet I still grieve. I still feel the pain of loss. So I pray for God to comfort me, to lessen my pain. Lessen my pain, so that I may have the courage to live life again. Where can I find more comfort than in God’s word? God has written “…all things that pertain to life”. So I search, that I may apply and live.
(Isa 41:10) Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Psa 73:26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
My heart may feel like it has failed, my soul like it has been ripped open, but God is the strength of my heart and I know that all things are possible with Him. He will give me strength to endure.
(Num 20:29) And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.
The people of Israel wept for thirty days upon the deaths of Moses and Aaron on two separate occasions. Reading through the Old Testament makes it seem that they were constantly tearing their clothes and putting on sackcloth and ashes. Did I take the time for weeping and mourning? What is enough time? Am I concealing what I see as unpleasant and uncontrolled emotion and succumbing to depression and anxiety? Do I grieve in silence, or do I share my grief and let God’s children comfort me? Have I let the world dictate how I should grieve or have I looked at how God’s people have grieved?
(Eccl 3:1-4) For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
There IS a time to die, a time to break down, a time to weep and a time to mourn. And that may be the time I am living in right now. But there is also a time to heal and a time to build myself up. And that time will come. In the midst of pain, it’s hard to even consider the time of laughter and dancing. Trust that God will give me that time again.
(Phil. 3:13-14) Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes it feels impossible to forget what lies behind, especially painful memories. Reading this passage with grief in mind gives me hope of comfort. Yes, we are always to strive for our eternal prize, but immersing ourselves in spiritual things and thoughts gives us more strength not to forget, but lessen the pain and sorrow of this life so that we may continue to press on to our eternal goal.
(Psa 119:50) This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
(Psa 119:92) If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
(Rev 21:4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
God’s promise endures if we will accept it. Can we find the comfort in the midst of our grief to know that it will not endure? God has promised us eternal life, a life with no more tears or mourning or pain. Yet in this promise, we see that there is a time for crying and mourning. It is not a weakness, or a lack of faith that we will see our loved ones again. God’s people mourn as a natural expression of the love that we have for each other when the object of that love is now gone from this life. The pain of loss will eventually turn into the comfort of healing.
God instructs us to pray and petition Him with our requests. What other time do we need the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds more, than when they are consumed by grief? We may see our loved ones again, but it still hurts now. We may feel alone, but God is there. We may be in the time of mourning, but we can take comfort in the fact that one day will be the time for healing. It might not be today, and it might not be tomorrow, but it WILL come. And one day, when our pain is not so great, we may need to reach down and bring it back out to help someone else find their way into the time of healing.