It feels odd to get back to life when it looks unrecognizable. After the death of someone or a significant loss, how can we get back to “usual” when “usual” doesn’t exist anymore? There is this empty space where a person belonged and everything that went along with them. That void takes your heart to the pit of your stomach at the very thought of their absence. Life is supposed to go on but it feels like it does so in slow motion.
There are stages to grief and I’ve read about them and gone through them, but I think it’s personal; different for each individual. I really don’t feel that psychology got the science down to five stages and that’s it. I also don’t agree with people who say that grief is an enemy and should be rebuked like the common cold. I know that grief, left unchecked and uncommitted into the healing hands of our Savior, can become a problem that shows up in many other ways. Nonetheless, the scriptures give us permission to have a season to grieve.
We are humans that hurt; we feel pain. If we can’t feel pain ourselves then we can’t feel it for others. God knew what separation felt like and made provisions for us to have a time of mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). We have permission! We can reflect, remember, and feel all our feelings and yet, are in the recuperative company of the Comforter when we do so…we are never alone even when we feel like we are.
In 2 Samuel 12:23, David said something that was and is so significant. After the death of his son, he returned from the tabernacle where he’d worshiped the Lord. He told his aides, who were amazed by his resolve, this enduring truth regarding the loss of his son, “I shall go to him, he shall not return to me.”
One might ask, how could someone worship God after the death of their baby? I believe David was thanking God that his sins were forgiven and that he had the hope of heaven and would see his son again. That is something to think about! What a hope we have…and that hope WILL be a reality! This life is but a moment but eternity is FOREVER!
God’s word is tethered to our hearts in times like these…we just have to tug! I can hurt but also proclaim, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). I can also feel afraid…yes, I said it!
C.S. Lewis wrote, what I believe is a definitive work on the subject of grief in, “A Grief Observed.” It was written after the loss of his beloved wife and reminds me of a psalm in its painful honesty and moments of questioning. He said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” The uncertainty of life changing so drastically, after loss, is frightening; the fear of an unplanned future that suddenly visited us is daunting.
However, fear is one of God’s specialties! Just the faith of a mustard seed can know He holds tomorrow and today and the next five minutes we don’t think we can even breathe through. Jesus was called, “The Man of Sorrows.” He was well-acquainted with grief and our sorrows cannot compare. But, His love answered the distant cries of our hurting hearts and He bore it all on the Cross…He didn’t have to but He did it anyway. In our hardest moments, we can look to Him and that undeniable love and know He will give us “beauty for ashes” and “that He heals the brokenhearted.”
What God gives in this life cannot be described, much less comprehended. But it doesn’t end here… so we can’t act like it does. I have - I admit it! In my life, there have been those moments where I felt like I couldn’t take another breath…but I did and I wasn’t breathing alone.
"Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27