Days of difficulty and distress, in life’s darkest times, when God is silent – how do we navigate our life and emotions when we are grieving the loss of loved one, friend, or suffering from a family fracture? What about a move that displaces us from family and friends? How do we deal with all the stuff that steals our joy? What can we do to get through the times of depression, despair, and sadness that sometimes clouds over our whole being?
There is no timeline for grief. After the untimely death of our 17 year old son, Johnny, from lymphoblastic lymphoma cancer in 1990, we became all too familiar with grief. Only later did we discover that grief is a miraculous gift that is given to us by God to help us to heal the pain . . . if we allow it. Grief always works. Grief always heals. It had been over a year after Johnny’s home-going, that a dear friend said, ‘You can’t hurry the healing. You are right where you are supposed to be.’ It was a relief to know that we weren’t stuck in grief but that we were in process of being healed. We still are. We are a lot further along now, but we won’t be completely free of grief until we see our beloved son again in heaven.
What we can do:
* Honor your own loss. Take the time to remember, reflect, and miss them. Our youngest son Ben at the time of his brother’s passing was 8 years old. He was worried we would forget Johnny. We made a collage of photos and put pictures in albums that we had long neglected. We hung them up in the hallway where we see them everyday.
* Don’t Judge. Other people’s feelings are not your business. Everyone grieves differently; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It does not always play out in orderly, predictable stages. Try not to take outbursts personally or try to force someone to open up. We grieve because we love.
* Strengthen yourself in Lord. We can strengthen ourselves in the Lord by fixing our thoughts on Jesus, being anchored in God’s Word and promises; knowing that as we hope in God, we can experience His joy on the other side of suffering.
Lamentations 3:20-25 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”