Good Grief

Job 30:25-27 “Have I not wept for him who was in trouble?
Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
But when I looked for good, evil came to me;
And when I waited for light, then came darkness.
My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest;”

The magnitude of people currently enduring some form of suffering is hard to wrap one’s mind around. In the midst of this Covid pandemic, there have been over 233 million people documented to have contracted the disease with an estimated 4.7 million deaths. Statistics seem very general until those statistics affect you or your family and it becomes all too real, and there are many cases that have not been reported.

What is also not reported is the grief that surrounds the loss of those loved ones. To those who endure loss, the prospect of moving on can be a difficult one. For many, the stress of a world that is not as it was can be difficult to process, the uncertainty of the times and the changes that have been occurring at unprecedented rates leave many in a state of anxiety and depression.

What also gets lost in the shuffle are the people enduring other forms of trial, the secondary effects of lockdowns, lack of available medical help, isolation, and financial insecurity is more than some can endure.

Grieving can be destructive or it can be beneficial, depending on your perspective.

Positive Effects

Grief has usually been associated with profound sadness. The loss of a loved one, the loss of security, a career opportunity, or anything considered of value can affect people in different ways. When considering the process of grief, we must consider what that process entails. A hope that was never realized, a dream that sadly came to an end, or a future with someone that has come to an abrupt conclusion, far sooner than you anticipated.

Often times the emotional experiences involve anger, confusion, or sadness. I’m not interested in exploring the 5 stages of the Kubler-Ross model for grieving which many take into consideration. It can be helpful to know what your going through is not uncommon but I believe it’s more valuable to know what God is doing in you through the experience.

  1. Grief is a process that shapes and forms you moving forward. What shape you may take is up to you. Focus on the resentment and bitterness grows and can overtake you, leading to anger and regression. Focusing on the Lord moves you from a place of confusion into a position of hope. Perspective is gained when your able to rise above the circumstances. The only One who can lift you up is the One who dwells above our circumstances. The more you understand how to deal with your grief, the less vulnerable you are in the future. You become stronger than you ever thought possible.

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and humble in spirit, to restore the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite.”

2. There is a motivation that can occur from healing which allows this new found strength to be shared with others. I know a dear family who lost a young daughter to drowning. The feelings of guilt and sorrow were only soothed by the abiding presence of the Lord. As their family healed a tenderness developed for others who currently have experienced loss and they became highly motivated to reach out to family members in crisis and give them some perspective. The mother who lost her little girl at times would hear in the news of a family who was at the hospital, people she didn’t even know who had lost a loved one, and she would go to the hospital to comfort those who were there. She used the strength she found through her loss, to give others hope.

Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted; He saves the contrite in spirit.”

3. Grief can draw loved ones in closer. Shared loss brings about shared emotions that bind. The emptiness of loss causes us to draw closer together to help fill the void. The church is vital in this process of healing. Those within the body who share the same Spirit of God, have a common factor within each and every believer. That Spirit causes a profound love for one another that exceeds anything the world can give. When one part of the body suffers, the entire body reacts. It is this love of Christ that draws believers in together and reminds the grieving they are not alone. Many who have experienced grief within this church community have reported times of how people would just come and sit with them, speak little, but give of their time, and how this had more of an impact than someone who tries to give all the answers.

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

4. Grief can give you a resiliency you never had before. When you realize that you can recover through something as devastating as the loss you had in your past, you know that the Lord will sustain you through anything that might come your way. Strength is gained not in yourself, but in God. The emptying of self in the midst of loss allows the Lord to fill you up with His strength and it is by His provision you can now go forward.

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

The Negative Effects

When we allow our sorrow to turn inwardly, we place on the focus on ourselves and act in ways that can be destructive.

When grief becomes complex is when that destructive behavior turns into patterns that cause damage in how we relate to others. These patterns include:

  • Intense sorrow, pain and rumination over the loss of your loved one.
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death.
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders.
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased.
  • Problems accepting the death.
  • Numbness or detachment

The enemy to your soul will use anything in your life by which you are vulnerable. There is nothing good within our flesh and when our goal is to focus on ourselves, we allow the flesh to lash out in ways that keep us bound.

Psalm 34:22 “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”

The way to healing is by trusting in the Lord for His provision. He fills up the void left through loss. He restores your soul and sets your feet on mountain tops. He does it all because He intensely loves you.

Your responsibility is simply to Trust and let Him guide you through the journey. When you do, you’ll be stronger for it, and your grief will be turned to joy.

Good grief is the result of a good God, and He is always good.

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