In the past few months I have gone through grief and witnessed others go through it too. One would assume that having gone through grief before, one becomes better at it and is therefore able to cope or handle it better.
That is far from the truth. The pain of loss eats one up. It disseminates your whole being. It tears you up. Each time you think you are over it, a memory, an image, a shadow, a story brings it all back again and one feels like one is living the pain all over again.
As I write this I acknowledge the fact that there are other forms of death. It can be a loved one dying, loss of a job, a divorce, a career that comes to an end, a relationship, relocation, miscarriage, the list is endless.
Whatever death is, it still is death and it can leave a hurricane of emotions that cause one to feel tattered and torn. Leaving one lost, bleeding, in pain, sensitive and vulnerable to
Grief reminds me of when one hits a toe on the edge of something, and somehow it follows that every time one knocks something – a stone, table or seat, it is this same injured toe that these obstacles look for. It doesn’t matter if for days one had begun to forget the pain; the instance the toe hits, the pain is fresh all over again, just like the first time. Eventually, even with no pain, one learns to protect the toe until it heals eventually. So it is with grief.
With grief, one goes through a spiral of emotions. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance of reality, readjustment, gaining confidence and finally living a new lifestyle. Now, these emotions can go either way. One may go through the same emotions over and over again, and others will move from one stage to another. Grief, I have come to realize, affects us differently because of how we perceive things and situations. Our response to whatever comes our way affects the outcome of our emotions.
As I have gone through
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines grief as; deep and poignant distress caused by
Grief births many emotions such as sorrow, anguish, woe, regret, and distress of mind.
Sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse, a poignant sorrow for an immediate cause.
Anguish suggests torturing grief or dread.
Woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery.
Regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse.
Let us look at the word GRIEF and see how we can turn those letters around to help bring healing, restoration as we add our ‘shock absorbers’.
G- Grounded in the Word.
It’s not about handpicking certain scriptures so to stay afloat. The principle here is to really know the Word so that the words in Isaiah 59:19 can become an anchor.
“SO SHALL THEY FEAR THE NAME OF THE LORD FROM THE WEST, AND HIS GLORY FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN; WHEN THE ENEMY COMES IN, LIKE A FLOOD THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD WILL LIFT UP A STANDARD AGAINST HIM.” (NKJV)
Let us take a look at that scripture again. I have personally come to look at it this way, “…When the enemy comes in, like a flood the spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. When the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against the enemy then because of the Lord’s deliverance they will fear Him from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun.”
The above will only happen when I am grounded in the truth of Who God is, and also have the conviction and faith that He will do what He says He will do; also b
When I think of the word rest, the image of the sea/ocean comes to mind, as do the breeze, the whispering palm trees, and the rustling leaves. I think of a nice book and a nice cup of something hot in my hand or a nice romantic movie. So for me, rest is being devoid of distractions that cause anxiety and stress. The Word of God tells us this about rest, in Mathew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
So, can one find rest in the Lord in the midst of all that one is going through in the cogwheell of grief? Absolutely!!
To be inclined means to be
Are we willing to come to Christ when grief strikes? More often than not, we cling to it. Not intentionally or on purpose, but because it becomes a comfortable cloak around us.
Incline is a positive action. It calls for me to do something.
Proverbs 2:2 “So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;….” (NKJV)
When I incline my ear to God, I feel this calls for a leaning into His Word. Applying my heart to understanding is an action meaning I choose to seek understanding of the matter at hand. Whatever one would be going through, one ought to seek help/ counsel to understand what it is that they are going through. Hence the ‘I’ for incline.
From Google, the definition of the word embrace is to accept (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically. Having looked at the meaning of this word in relation to grief, to embrace would mean accepting the situation as it is, whatever it is.
There is a lady I knew who died of a broken heart. Her son died from a complication, she blamed her husband for not acting fast enough, the marriage ended in divorce and she also never forgave herself. In the end, depression set in and she did not recover from it as she did not deal with her grief, and eventually, she died! Very tragic!
For me, Psalm 23 puts everything into place. Especially verse 4.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”. (NIV)
This verse has comforted me many times. Also, listening to songs e.g. “When Peace Like a River:-
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well,
With my soul, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”
These two verses would always quieten my soul, as would the words of David in Psalm 42:5
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and….”. (NLT)
This does not mean that pain or woe or anguish will vanish immediately, no! What this means is that one is taking the sorrow, pain etc and channeling it so that it does not destroy. Un-channeled sorrow, woe, pain easily lead to depression, suicide and
F – Faith
When experiencing grief, faith, I believe, is the glue that keeps one steadily looking up and looking forward. It causes one to hunker down and trust God that the pain will end. Taking one day at a time. Living without a loved one. Losing a job and rising up each morning with renewed hope and conviction. Watching a child, sibling or significant other as they drown in alcoholism and drugs, hopeful that help is on the way soon.
Faith is further described in Heb 11:1 as
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (NKJV)
Faith is believing that what one has prayed for will come to pass.
Mark 11:23 “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith”. (KJV)
“Believe!” is what Jesus told His disciples. It is what is true for us today. Doubt or wavering causes a malfunction in the delivery of what one has prayed for. Faith is being sure, being confident and believing that whatsoever they have asked for IS DONE!! One believes without wavering that what God says in His Word is true despite the prevailing circumstances; that what He has said in Jeremiah 29:11 about the plans He has for each one being for good and not evil is true. It is seeing those things with the eyes of faith and believing that God is good even when logic is deifed.
In conclusion, grief is real. Grief can and will destroy if one lets it do so. Grief can and will break relationships if not handled properly. Therefore, when grief strikes, and it will as long as we are on this earth, let us use the tools above to deflect it as we navigate through it to find our balance.