In the past I've heard people say you can never fully comprehend what it's like to lose someone close to you until it actually happens. I didn't really get it before but now I do. They're right. It's unlike anything else you'll ever experience.
I feel like nobody really understands what I'm dealing with and I am exhausted from repeating myself. The idea of a normal life doesn't exist anymore and the things I thought were important no longer hold any value. My world, my life, my reality has flipped around and I'm barely holding on.
God feels far away…a distant spectator in the storm, which now defines my life. Why isn't He nearby? Why isn't he rescuing me? Why can't I move on?
How can life carry on from here? What do I do with myself? Who can I trust? Where is my refuge, my place of comfort? When will I feel whole again?
Part of our created humanness is that we form natural emotional and psychological attachments to people and things. But when lose them—such as in the death of a loved one—we experience the process of grief. The greater the loss the deeper the grief.
Our problem comes when we don't process our grief allowing proper healing from the loss to occur. We end up stuck. Some inadequate responses include not grieving at all, delayed grief, incomplete grief, and responding with bitterness.
God accepts the fact that we grieve and that it is part of the human condition. Paul commanded, “Mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15 NIV). He also wrote we grieve but not in the same manner as those who do not have hope (1Thessalonians 4:13). When we have Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we still grieve, but the nature of that grief is changed so that we grieve with the sure hope of heaven and the restoration of all things. God knows grief is normal and His answer to us is, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Isaiah 53:3-4 describes Jesus as “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (NASB). In John 11:33-35 Jesus wept greatly at the death of his friend Lazarus. When John the Baptist was killed Jesus withdrew to a solitary place (Matthew 14:13). Seeing Jesus grieve shows us grief is not sin and it is OK to feel pain at loss.
God's answer to grief and loss is to provide:
- The presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit for power to endure
- The promises of His Word to strengthen and give hope
- The people who can encourage and comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- Understand that grief serves a purpose in our life. Properly experienced it is a catalyst to emotional and psychological healing and spiritual growth
- Realize that although grief is a four-staged process of Denial, Anger, Depression, and Acceptance, everyone is unique in how they process it
- In your time of grief, remember that God has not forsaken you. As a believer you have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Rely on and pray for His power even when you don't feel like it
- In times of wavering faith, meditate on the truths of God's Word that speak of:
- God's presence (Psalm 23, 46, 71:20, 21; 73:23; Romans 8: 38,39; Revelation 21:3-4)
- God's goodness and love (Mark 10:18; Matthew 7:9-11; Genesis 50:19-21)
- God's wisdom (Romans 11:33-36; 16:27)
- God's sovereignty (Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4: 34-36)
- Do not isolate yourself from people, particularly other believers. Although they may not have words to say, their presence and listening ear can be a source of encouragement. Talking to someone about your loss is helpful
- Keep moving toward accepting that everything we have in this life is temporary and must eventually be surrendered. In acceptance there is peace