Wednesday, 28 October 2009
To say that Christians ought not grieve is a ridiculous statement, yet I have been told it is said to those looking for help after experiencing loss of some kind. That is cruel and amounts to telling them to "get over it." Christ has come to comfort those who mourn.
Experiencing grief does not mean a person is an immature Christian or one who lacks faith in the eternal destiny of a believer who dies, or that a person lacks faith in God when life's circumstances deal them a terrible blow. Obviously believers in all stages of growth and change experience grief and loss. A younger believer does not usually have the depth of understanding or the resources to respond biblically in grief. One who has walked with Christ longer may find it easier to accept and understand difficulties and grief because they have a history of God's faithfulness to them over the years. A more mature believer can be an excellent role model to a younger one providing our response is honoring to God.
The most often asked question is "Why?" "Why did God take my loved one?", "Why did I lose my job?", "Why is my reputation being ruined this way?"
Many wonder if they are being punished for some sin they have committed. (No! Jesus took all the punishment for all our sins upon Himself on the cross.) Has God rejected me? Am I out of fellowship with God? (No! John 6:37 says that Jesus will never cast out His own). Wondering if somehow we have been cast out of the family of God is something we don't have to think about. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, we belong to Him for all eternity. These are important truths to tell to someone who is hurting and wondering what role they play in the loss.
As you grieve you may wonder about all the emotions and crazy fluctuations in your moods; these are very normal! One only needs to look at our Old Testament friend, Job to see that he experienced the entire spectrum of emotions. He was numb as one loss piled on top of the other, shocked as all he treasured went away. Angry as his wife told him to curse God and die, he was fearful and frightened as he grew more and more ill because he didn't know where it would end, and then upset because he could not seem to die. He was at first glad and then sad when his three friends showed up to comfort him, and as they continued to "comfort" him he grew lonely because they proved to be no comfort at all. Those friends were not comforters, they were accusers and condemners. In time he wearied of their company and wished they would shut up and go away.
So you see, you are not so unusual after all! You may have all of these reactions to your situation and that is okay. Please don't listen to those who would tell you that grieving must quickly end and life resume its hectic pace. You will grieve as much as you need to when you need to. I found that when my Mom passed away it took me about 6 weeks before I was emotionally awake again, and it was not until then that I really began to deal with my loss.
Keep in mind that many people don't need words, they need your presence in their lives. They need the steady presence of someone outside those who grieve to give a reality check. It is much more important that you are simply there so don't worry about having much to talk about.
What have you learned or seen through grieving?