Whenever you or a love one experiences a significant loss, serious illness or death it is normal to experience grief. There are many other types of losses that occur in life that can result in grief as well. Recovery issues, divorce, financial, relocation, career change, natural disasters as well as a miscarriage or abortion can all trigger one to experience a degree of grief. The initial reaction to any of the above is usually shock accompanied by a feeling of numbness. Grief can often result in one feeling a deep sense of hopelessness and or abandonment. It is also possible to ask “why me?” Anger and resentment may result in feelings of ambivalence. Initially the above symptoms are natural. The passing of time is a partial salve that can and will eventually anesthetize your deep pain.
If you are a Christian, finding solace in God’s Word during grief is a great resource to help you maneuver through a plethora of emotions. It is during grief you can actually learn to embrace God’s spiritual comfort. The deep void that one experiences during grief is often unexplainable. So if you don’t feel like talking try spending some time with God. As you truly and earnestly seek God who is the ultimate “Comforter” you can experience His abiding presence. If you are a believer you should know that God’s Word is true. Not some of it but all of it. His promise to “never leave us nor forsake us” must be faithfully embraced in your hour of need.
Grieving is an emotionally painful process. Allowing the one that is grieving to talk freely about how they are feeling is healthy and consoling. Many become depressed and can have a deep sense of guilt. There are two types of guilt; normal and neurotic guilt. Neurotic guilt is based on unrealistic expectations or situations. Helping the one that is grieving to face the reality of loss is helpful. It is healthy to allow them the freedom to talk about their love one. Enabling is never healthy. Allowing them to work through their emotions by being active is a good thing. Taking a walk, run or jogging may even be relaxing and release some inner tension. During an opportune moment try telling them a humorous story or a funny joke can help lift their spirit momentarily. Encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Helping them to freely express their feelings and concerns are healthy. Remember everyone is different. Just because you do not see them crying does not mean they are not grieving. Some people elect to privately grieve. Some time just doing nothing is good. A good friend will be patient, sensitive, caring and compassionate and understanding at this time. Just knowing you are there for them can be a great sense of comfort.
During the holidays when there are many festive celebrations this can also be a reminder to many of their time of loss. After the holidays pass and all the seasonal excitement has dissipated there may be a resurgence of grief. This too is a natural response. Again try to allow yourself to think of some of the happier times you shared together. Depression and sickness can be spawned in the midst of grief. Emotional pain when not dealt with properly can trigger physical illness. Where, what and whom you focus on will make a world of difference. In spite of all the painful things that can happen or has happened in life, there is always something good to think about. God still has you here for a purpose. Some days you might have to take it a moment at a time. Again, please allow yourself to think about some of the cheerful experiences you shared with your love ones. God tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything.Suffering is a part of life. Just think if we did not know sorrow how would we know joy?
Your love one is really in a much better place. They have actually transcended suffering. When you focus on God you can have joy in the midst of your grieving. This is why it is so important to develop an intimate personal relationship with Him. God does not take pleasure in seeing us suffer. Grief and sorrow are a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. When they disobeyed they chose sin and grief as a way of life for mankind. This is why it is important to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Because of His death and resurrection we now have direct access to the Father. God’s joy is not contingent on the approval of others or on our situation. Joy runs deep when you know that God is your source of strength. Joy is a by product of focusing on God which will give you a peaceful sense of well-being. When you spend time daily in prayer, praising and studying God’s Word I guarantee you, you will experience great joy! It will give you a different perspective in your time of need.
The Apostle Paul endured many adversities. Yet he chose to use those adversities to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord. God’s grace was fully sufficient for Paul. Paul grasped something that few people ever really understand or attain. Paul delighted and found joy in the Lord regardless of what was going on about him. From an outward appearance this was not always apparent to his onlookers. Paul and Silas together sang and prayed so fervently that even the doors to prison were opened for them. This is one of the many examples of the difference God makes in our life. God’s presence and comfort is available. Believing, knowing and applying God’s Word will transform your mind to think spiritually when faced with grief or any trial or situation that comes into your life. Now this does not mean being in denial, quite the contrary. Knowing the Truth is so very powerful. Man looks on the outside. God looks at the heart. According to God’s Word spiritual things can not be understood by the natural or carnal man. Seeking the Truth brings Light into our lives. Allow God’s Light to shine in your heart, mind and soul in the midst of grief. Let Him direct and comfort you. God’s Word will be a Light unto your path.
God’s Word says; “Now this I say, brethren that Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has out on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory…” Revelation 15: 50-55. When a believer dies he/she goes to heaven. As a believer death is not to be feared. Romans tell us there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from the love of God, not even death. God is awesome!
We will never fully understand many things. There are many world wide tragedies about us. God said that before the end of time many will be deceived and believe a lie. That many would take pleasure in unrighteousness. The Scriptures are being fulfilled. Many are grieving the loss of love ones daily due to death, suicide, violence, crime, war, hurricanes, floods and the latest furious Tsunami. Thousands have died. Just imagine what the original flood was like. God is speaking. Keep in mind we know through God’s Word that the end of time as we know it will not be via water. God sets the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His promise. We also know that God is fully aware of everything that happens. God has promised that He would always be with us. Knowing and focusing on God during your grief or any other difficult situation you may be going through will result favorably. This does not mean you will not be hurt, saddened or feel abandoned. It is how you feel that let’s you know you are alive. God already knows our hearts. Begin to partake in His spiritual fruit. The fruit of God’s Spirit are accessible. Self control will help you not to be controlled by your thinking, despair or feelings. God’s Word tells us we can even be angry yet not sin. We must yearn to yield to God’s way of reacting and responding. Every Word of God is true. One must only learn how to use and properly apply it wisely. Wisdom comes from God. We have the victory even in death. How is that? Jesus has overcome. Begin thinking and looking from a spiritual perspective. God’s children are the “apple of His eye.” God loved us so much that He allowed His only begotten Son to die for us. God is so much more than our little finite minds can imagine. God wants to walk with you through this valley of the shadow of death.
Nothing happens in any of our lives and in the world that gets by God. God our Father and Creator always has everything under His control. Carefully read the story of Job. This is why it is so very important to accept “Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!” Jesus is the only door to heaven. God’s Word tells us that there is no other name by which you can be saved. You must accept Jesus into your heart if you plan to spend eternity with God. Living out His Word daily will give you the strength to go through this valley of the shadow of death. It is the duty of man to “fear God and keep His commandments.” Life here on earth is just a mere passage way to our soul’s eternal resting place. When your heart is heavy try singing, praying, praising and or giving thanks to God. This will also help you to focus on Him instead of your grief or situation at hand. Your security and significance must rely in God. We never know what each day may bring. Living for God is not just a Sunday thing. It is a lifestyle. Salvation is truly God’s wonderful plan for us. It secures our heavenly residence and can give us hope in the midst of grief, persecution and longsuffering. “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, but beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you to salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ...” Thessalonians 2: 13-14. This is why His Word says in everything give thanks!
DeBorrah K. Ogans is a licensed Pastoral Counselor and ordained minister. She is certified through the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling in Creation Therapy and holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Clinical Counseling. She is the author of a pre-marital guide “How Do I Love Thee: Things You Need To Know Before You Say I Do”, and just released her second book "Holy Matrimony: Now That You're Married".