Thanks for joining me today… I’ve got something heavy on my mind so grab your coffee and come on in and share the burden.
Grief, it’s been on my mind this week. We’ve all been in the throes of it at some time in our lives…and if we haven’t, we’re bound to be. It’s part of living on this sinful planet and it is also part of loving. It’s interesting to me how grief follows a pattern, yet is so individual. There is no ‘right’ way to grieve nor is there the ‘right’ time to be over it. The 5 stages that seem to be universal are: Denial and Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Experts say that throughout the process, we can move between those stages, each individual experiencing them for different lengths and with different intensity. One article I read says that not everyone gets to the acceptance stage…sometimes the suddenness of loss or the inability to see past the anger and denial prohibits one from getting into this stage.
It’s very hard to watch someone we love grieve and feel at a loss at how to help them. I have many, many friends in various stages of grief. I myself am back and forth between a few of them. I do not have answers of how best do we deal with our own grief or that of someone else. In fact, isn’t it true that often those who are grieving feel alone?
Why is it when a tragedy happens to us our world kind of stops at that moment? Friends and loved ones hang in there with us for awhile, but soon, they have to go back to their lives and we’re left with the pain…barely making it through our days while it seems everyone else has moved on. Some of us may even want to avoid our loved one who is grieving because we no longer know what to say or how to help.
I found this in another article: “Coping with loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.”
I thought that was stellar advice.
Ultimately, we are never truly alone in anything we face. God has promised that He is always there. (The LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you Deuteronomy 31:6)
If anyone understands feeling alone or forsaken it would be Jesus. He experienced it many times…even from men who were His best friends. The Bible says that “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16. I am not implying with this verse that our grief is a weakness or a sin; but in our weakness in times of grief, He knows what we are going through and desires to help us. Sometimes He sends a message through His word – there’s a great reason why it’s important to read it daily. Other times He sends a message through a song or a friend who drops by unexpectedly.
It’s true that even though we know the above, we can still feel very alone in our grief. It may be hard to reach out to people and let them know what we need from them, especially in the first stage where it is tempting to isolate ourselves. I have found that people are almost always willing to do something if they just know what that is. So don’t be afraid to say “I’m hurting; I really need you to come sit with me … or pray for me … or whatever it is you think would help you. If you are on the other side of grief right now but you know someone who is hurting, remember this: “Carry each other’s burdens…” Galatians 6:2. Again, this will look different in each situation…but the Bible says that this fulfills His law.
For any of you who may be in the middle of grieving right now, I pray that God’s comfort and Love will find you. I pray that one day, in your time you will reach the stage of acceptance. Who knows when God will ask you to help carry another’s pain and give you just the right words or actions to help them through their season of grief.