To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;…”Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 NKJV
Grief is a strange beast that attacks each of us at some point and time in our life and the effects are felt differently with each soul.
In the past month I have had to deal with my Mom suffering terrible nerve pain in her leg, being made sick by the different pain medications tried, which led to exhaustion and a couple of falls, leading to more pain and suffering. With the pandemic restrictions making visiting impossible, I had to rely on second hand information and was denied the ability to be there and care for my Mom myself. Then she had a massive stroke in the middle of the night and died twenty minutes before I could get to the hospital. My heart is broken.
Many times in the midst of all this frustration, anxiety, stress and now grief, I have wanted to just give it to someone else, run away and forget. I felt so helpless and overwhelmed.
But the Lord, whispered His love for me, His presence was there in the sleepless nights and He reminded me that, like Esther, perhaps I was born for this time, groomed for it, by the path God had led me on. I have a nursing background, I know a loving and powerful Lord and while my relationship with my Mom had not always been smooth, we knew we loved each other. All these things have strengthened me but it is the love, strength and grace of my God which is getting me through the grieving process.
When we are in the grips of grief we feel a host of emotions and even physical manifestations of it;
- not wanting to talk but not wanting to be alone either
- wanting to feel and get back to normal but at the same time feeling a sense of guilt about it
- tears flowing randomly and at the most unexpected times
- a lingering weight that takes up residence inside
- difficulty focusing
- the feeling of wrongness when life just goes on as though nothing happened
- lack of motivation and many, many others.
We need to allow our hearts, and bodies, the time to grieve. There is no sin in grieving, no shame, it is part of a healing process, the way God formed us.
Even Jesus wept (broke out into tears) on the way to the tomb of his dear friend Lazarus in John 11:35 and then again in verse 38 the bible says He groaned inwardly. Christ wept and groaned as we do because death is not how it is supposed to be. It feels wrong because it is wrong. God planned for us to live eternally with Him.
Grieving comes in different ways and varying degrees. Death of a loved one is front and center in most peoples’ minds but there are so many other ways in which we grieve;
- loss of your independence
- loss of innocence
- broken relationships
- children leaving home
- etc., etc.
Grief never really leaves us either. It comes and goes like waves but there will always be a part of our soul that grieves whatever we lost; it just changes over time, becomes less intense, less painful, more bearable. In the case of losing a loved one, the memories become bittersweet, sadness mixed with happiness at having shared in their life.
We can’t just give up and give in though. It’s not what our loved ones would want us to do. I often hear my Mom’s voice in my head saying, “Okay, you’ve had your cry, now dry your eyes and get on with life.” Most importantly, however, it is not what God has called us to.
Jesus wept but He knew there was hope.
“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your hearts that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”Romans 10:10 NIV
For those who believe, there is a new eternal life, with God, awaiting them when they die. This brings us peace and happiness in our grief. They are home!
And for those we love that we are not sure of their faith or they rejected Christ, we have our Saviour’s love and assurance that He will bear with us in our grief and hold us up by His righteous right hand. Because our Lord is acquainted with grief. As much as we grieve, He grieves more! He understands our sorrow and our pain. So we can come to Him with our questions, our anger, our sadness. He is not afraid and will never turn you away.
So dear hearts, as I look back on the past six weeks and especially the past three and a half, I see so much of God’s grace in the midst of it all. He has provided for me in countless ways, some which I know and experienced and others which I will probably not know of until I go home. So do not be afraid to grieve but do it with a hopeful heart and know that your Lord is with you always!! Then when you feel ready, look to Him, get up, go on and live your life, more compassionately and lovingly because you know what it is to hurt.