The Sorrow of Loss
Columbine. Aurora. September 11th. Hurricanes. Floods. Disease. Family and Friends. We all must face and deal with tragedy in this life. Whether it is Global, National, Local, or within our closest circle of family and friends it will come knocking at our door. The hurt is sharp and piercing…..driving deep into our hearts all the while making life seem unbearable. How do we come to a place of grief and healing during tragedy? Is it possible to come to terms with the loss of loved ones in this life?
Grief and Healing
Hurting is not a Solitary Sport
The stages of Grief and Healing
There are, according to those who commonly deal with the subject, five stages of grief that people usually pass through on the road to recovery. They are:
This first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.
Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce.
After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness
Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality.
A person may or may not go through all these stages during the process of grief and healing, but most do and dealing with grief is necessary to move on, not forgetting those lost, with our lives. The hurt will remain….the loss is real….and sin is the cause.
Sin Causes Death and Tragedy
To deal with grief and healing we should know what is the root cause of death and tragedy in this world…sin. Mankind is sinful, fallen, separated from God in all his being. We have fallen from grace and our very natures are corrupt: causing not only harm to ourselves but to others also. To deal with the sorrow of loss we must come to grips with why that loss occurs.
When the very first man, in a perfect environment, fell due to his own choices and against the command of God, all humanity fell with him. The whole of creation was cursed and death came upon all men. This was not only the promise of physical death, for the wages of sin is death, but also the death referred to in Ephesians 2:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind
Those who are dead in their sins are wicked and full of mischief. They are arrogant ( Psalm 10:2 ), vile ( Psalm 12:8 ), and and full of violene ( Psalm 17:9 ). Our hearts are sick and deceitful ( Jeremiah 17:9 ) and out of them flows every kind of abhorrent thing ( Mark 7:21 ). I believe it is ony because of the restraining hand of God that more tragedies do not occur everyday.
Healing sin and helping grief
There is only one cure for the wicked and sinful heart that plagues mankind: the reconciliation of man to God through the work of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 goes on to say:
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The hard heart of man, that lies as the foundation of so many tragedies, can only be cured, made alive, and set free from sin by the Grace of God. We must be born again to see His Kingdom, to be part of His family, and to truly come through grief and healing. By His Grace and the quickening of the Spirit we can believe on Jesus Christ, repent of and confess our sins, and be justified before Him through the means of faith.
The tragedies will still come for sin is an ever present reality in this fallen world, we now have a Comforter and the promise that He, Christ, will never leave nor forsake us. We have a refuge from the storms of life, a Rock of salvation we can depend on, and a stonghold in time of trouble. We know that weeping endures for the night but joy Will come in the morning.
The Body of Christ and Healing
Not only do we, as Christians, have the Lord of Glory to rely on, we also have the Body of Christ here on Earth to draw support and comfort from. The Church should be an invaluable resource in coming to terms with grief and healing. We should show forth the mercy and compassion that we have received and help our brothers and sisters in their time of need and sorrow. Christ Himself said that they would know we are His disciples by the love we show one for another. No believer, no member of the Church, should ever face loss and tragedy alone…and it is a shame if they do.
Pastors, Elders, Deacons, and caring layman should help ease the burden of loss felt by those in the flock. If it is nothing more than kind words, a meal, or a card in the mail our Spiritual Family should have no reservations calling upon us in times of trouble. Remember Christians…you are not alone in this World…..Christ is always with you and His Body, the Church, is ready to come along side and minister in your times of grief and healing.
Look up and Look Out in Sorrow and Restoration
Remember to always look to Christ first and foremost, by all means allow yourself to go through the stages of grief, and look around at the cloud of witnesses that have been through similar situations. That is why God does bring us through….so that we can help those around us…..so that the hurting and wounded are not abandoned….so that the Love and Healing we have received can be shared with those in need at the present.
Pray for those hurting now, pray for those who will face tragedy in the future, and pray that you will be prepared when it comes knocking on your door.
God bless and Keep the Faith