Disclaimer: This post might be hard for many to read as it discusses the feeling of grief when losing a loved one.
Grief is a touchy and tricky subject and unfortunately, no one is immune from it. If you have never had to deal with grief then you should count yourself lucky and know that unfortunately there will come a time when you will face this battle. For those who find themselves in the midst of this struggle, I am praying for the comfort of God to surround you. For the others who have not been affected by grief yet, I pray that you can be a resource of comfort and support for those who feel this pain, and I pray that you will receive the same comfort when your time to grieve comes.
I write this post with a heavy heart as I reflect on the many loved ones I have lost over the years. Many people deal with pain and grief differently and for me, I find comfort in getting my sadness out on paper and helping others through my story. 1 Corinthians 1:3-7 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” The comfort we receive in our time of grief can and should be given to others when they are going through the same struggles. This is why I share what I experienced and learned through my times of grief.
I am not the perfect example when it comes to dealing with grief but I have experienced a lot of loss in my life and I have personally tried many ways to deal with that pain. Some ways have been therapeutic and others have been detrimental to my well-being. Everyone has their own way to cope with this kind of pain. I do not believe there is one right way to grieve, but I do believe there are some wrong ways that lead to more pain and suffering down the line. Those paths begin with seeking comfort outside of God and His ways. For example, seeking comfort in drugs, alcohol, companionship, and other sinful outlets only lead to more pain in the long run. (If you find yourself heading down a dangerous path, I encourage you to reach out to a mentor, pastor, priest, or therapist. Seeking help when working through grief is not something to be ashamed of! We all need someone to listen and support us in times of grief. My Christian Walk wants to support you and pray for you but we cannot provide all the resources that may be needed to work through your pain, but we would like to pray for you.)
When I was younger, I didn’t know how to handle the pain that came with losing a loved one. I carried around feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment towards God for taking my family away from me. The grief was heavy and burdensome for me, and as a high schooler, I did not have the wisdom to process such a loss. I thought if I could just move on everything would be better and the pain would disappear. My bitterness and anger towards God put up a wall and kept me from truly dealing with my pain. It wasn’t until I let go of my resentment and began to take down my wall brick by brick that I began to heal. Now that I am older and wiser, I still feel the pain of losing a loved one just as deeply but I have learned to turn towards God instead of away from Him. Instead of feelings of anger and resentment towards God, I feel grateful for the gift that He gave me for the amount of time I had with those people. I know that the time I had with them was only a gift because they belong to God and not on this earth filled with sin and pain. God used those people to teach me so many lessons about love, joy, peace, compassion, service, creativity, family, hard work, how to be a team player, selflessness, and so much more. Without their influence in my life when they were alive and even now that they have passed away, I would not be the person I am today. I strive to live up to their legacy and to embody the characteristics that I miss most about them. Grief does not have to be a bad thing, it can be healing when it is handled in the way of the Lord.
Jesus set that example for us in John 11:35. Although this verse is the shortest verse in the Bible, it highlights that it is okay to not be okay. The verse simply says, “Jesus wept”. Why was he weeping? Well one of His best friends, someone who was like a brother to Him had just died. Jesus felt the feeling of grief so deeply that He wept for Lazurus. If you know this story you also know that Jesus would later bring Lazurus back from death, but at that moment Jesus was deeply saddened and dealt with those feelings head-on. Jesus knew what the future held but still felt this way when losing a loved one, because of this we know that He understands how we feel during our times of sadness. The Bible encourages us to feel those feelings and allows God to work in us and through us to heal. We are not told to bottle them up and keep quiet but to allow ourselves to feel that sadness. See the verses below to reference.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
Crushed spirit, brokenheartedness, these are all feelings of grief that are so real to us when we are grieving, but we can see in these verses that God offers us comfort and tells us that He will be close to us during these times. We are not promised that the process will be an easy recovery but we will be given the comfort we need. We can hold on to the truth that God will provide all the comfort we need in our struggles. We can also hold tight to the promise we find in Revelation 21:4, which says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” In this verse, we receive the promise that one day there will be no more pain or grief. They will be a new heaven and earth designed for us to be in community with the Lord and those loved ones who have gone before us. AMEN!
An illustration that I found that helped me understand my grief feels was the jar and the ball illustration. The ball represents the grief we feel and the jar represents our life. At first, the ball takes up so much of the space in our jar (our life) that it makes it hard not to feel its heaviness but as we grow and move forward with our lives our jar begins to get bigger and the grief although it is the same size doesn’t feel as big. The grief never goes away but it doesn’t feel as big on some days, but that doesn’t mean it is not there. There will always be a time when that grief comes up, sometimes it will be when something reminds you of that person or sometimes it is out of nowhere. It is best to feel those feelings and deal head-on with that grief and not to try to hide from it.
I want to leave you with this. The pain and grief that comes along with losing someone we love is one of the toughest things we humans will ever have to deal with. God’s love, comfort, and grace is the only thing that can soften this pain. I also urge you to be the person your loved ones would like you to be.