The Journey through Grief
I spoke to a friend this week who had experienced a loss of a loved one. I asked her how has things been and tears welled up in her eyes as she said it had been hard. It broke my heart to see my friend suffering from the pain of grief. Losing a treasured loved one leaves a huge hole in our life and we struggle to know how to become whole again.
Our life is altered forever. We may move on. The pain may lessen. New people may come into our lives but the hole will always be there because the memories we have remind us how much we miss having that person around. We grieve because we loved that person deeply. The person played a significant role in our lives and we treasured the moments we had with that person. We grieve because we have been painfully robbed of that person’s love and presence. We can no longer share life together or create new memories.
God does not expect us to rush through grief. Grief is a healthy normal human emotion. Even Jesus experienced grief. For example, He grieved at the tomb of His close friend Lazarus and wept over Jerusalem. He also felt separated from His Father on the cross. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!” Jesus, the Son of God, was not immune from the pain of grief. He experienced grief just like you and I. If Jesus could love the Father and believed in His promises and still grieved, then it is okay for us to have faith in God and know that He is near but still grieve also.
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34: 18). God comes alongside us as we grieve. Instead of hurrying past the pain of grief, set aside time to grieve with God. Don’t push aside the strong emotions that you are feeling. You will feel anger, fear, and despair. When these emotions rise up in you, allow yourself to feel them in God’s presence. Having understood the pain of grief our Lord is able to be close at hand to comfort and support you. Support may come in unexpected ways – a pleasant memory, a friend’s visit, a timely note, a comforting dream. God never leaves you alone. He is holding your hand, drying your tears and whispering comfort to your crushed spirit.
Don’t grieve alone. We need each other in times of grief. When supporting people who grieve, be there to listen and support. We are not there to “fix” the grieving person. Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4). In the same way as God comes alongside us to comfort us, we are called to come alongside others to comfort them.
Grief is something we experience in the presence of God and others. I guess that is why we have funerals and wakes. We need God and we need others to journey with us through our grief. My prayer is that you dont go through grief alone.