Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 9 October 2015
Page 7

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

God’s Way for Us to Cope
with Loss, Sorrow and Grief, #3

Marilyn LaStrape

It has been noted that when we lose a parent, we lose our past. Most of us expect to outlive our parents. How did we feel when that expectation became a reality? That was the first question that this writer’s husband asked when my mother died. “How do you feel?” My reply was, “I don’t know.” We remained in total silence for quite a while.

Perhaps your parents lived long and fulfilling lives, but that did not necessarily make it any easier to say goodbye! Even the fact that you may have been anticipating their death does little to prepare you for living without them; life will never be the same.

The account of the death of Sarah, Isaac’s mother, is tender indeed. Isaac was only 37-years-old when Sarah died (Genesis 17:17). His father Abraham took steps to ensure Isaac’s comforting as recorded in Genesis 24.

Most individuals expect their parents to die before them, but few are really prepared for the loss. The intensity of your grief may surprise you, especially if you were anticipating the death of an ill or elderly parent. The recognition that your father or mother lived a long, full life or was released from pain and suffering does not make your loss easier to bear. A parent’s death is particularly difficult because:

How Certain Biblical Siblings
Dealt with the Death of their Father

There are times when the death of parents can bring about a healing of relationships. Such was the case in the lives of these biblical families.

After their death, it is crucial that your parents or any loved one is remembered exactly as they were. Recovery and healing that affects healthy grieving includes:

In his book, Growing through Grief, Bill Flatt references in his book, “Mental Health and the Bible” features of the shock stage. “One may withdraw from people, become aggressive, cry profusely, clam up, bottle up grief, do strange things, deny the death, distort the truth by claiming perfection for the one who has died” (18 emphasis added).

Randy Becton’s article, “Grief Work,” makes these observations in “Accepting Bereavement, The Healing Process of Grief.” “A symptom of acute grief is the complaint that things seem to be unreal. There is a feeling of increased emotional distance from people. There is also a sense of preoccupation with the image or memory of the deceased. Many people will idealize the deceased person, sometimes beyond recognition” (15, emphasis added).

For this writer, Psalms is the “go to” inspired book for facing and accepting loss and choosing to follow God’s lead as He directs a changed pathway of life. “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).

Works Cited

Flatt, Bill. Growing through Grief. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1987.

“When A Loved One Dies: Coping with Grief.” San Antonio: The USAA Educational Foundation, 2012.

Becton, Randy. “Grief Work.” Accepting Bereavement, The Healing Process of Grief. Nashville: 21st Century Christian, 1999.


Rebecca Rushmore

Rebecca RushmoreA few months ago I attended a training session in my school district. The training was designed to provide information on the upcoming online state testing procedures. The trainer stressed the importance of asking for help using the new system if needed. He then gave a brief explanation on three kinds of mistakes he sees. He indicated he readily would help those who make one kind of mistake, but those making the other kinds of mistakes were on their own. As I pondered his points, I realized the Bible addresses these three types of mistakes as well. Let’s consider them now.

Too Big for Your Britches

The first kind of mistake is made when someone is “too big for her britches.” This occurs when the individual thinks she already knows everything and has no need of help. Several verses come to mind that refute this type of thinking. First Corinthians 10:12 reads, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” The previous verses remind the readers of the complaining Israelites who wandered the wilderness for forty years—and died there. Galatians 6:3 also warns against thinking we are better than we are.

When we think we know the “better” way, we are in the most danger of losing our way. Psalm 119:105 tells us God’s Word lights our path. Jesus told His followers in John 14:6 that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” In Philippians 3:17, Paul instructed the church to follow the pattern of those who follow after Christ (see also 1 Corinthians 11:1). Christians are to lean on, depend on and help each other (Galatians 6:1-2, James 5:16).


The second kind of mistake is made when someone is lazy. This person wants to take short cuts instead of putting forth the effort to complete a task correctly. When Jesus, through John, spoke to the church at Laodicea, He condemned them for being “lukewarm.” The Christians in that city were not working for the Lord. They had become content in their circumstances and did not think they needed anything else. In Matthew 25, we read the Parable of the Talents as told by Jesus. In the end, Jesus condemned the one-talent man for his lack of effort, calling him a “wicked and lazy servant” (v. 26). When Jesus described the judgment scene later in the chapter (v. 31-46), He condemned those who did not work. Christians are to work for the Lord (Matthew 9:37-38; John 4:34-38; James 2).


The third kind of mistake is made because the individual is human. The difference between this type of mistake and the other two types is attitude. The “too big for her britches” and “lazy” individuals typically blame others instead of themselves for mistakes. The “human” individual, on the other hand, corrects the mistake, learns from it and moves on. This type of mistake is made because we, as humans, are not perfect. Even when we try our best, we sometimes mess up. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No matter how hard we try, we can never attain perfection; Christ in the only one who ever has or ever will live a perfect life (Hebrews 5:8-9).

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul listed some pretty horrendous behaviors—sins. In verse 11, Paul stated that some in the church at Corinth were at one time guilty of those sins; now, however, they were “washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” These Christians changed their course and began walking toward God, instead of away from Him. First John 1:7 explains that Christians who continue walking in the right direction are continually cleansed when they confess their sins (v. 9). When we do make mistakes, we need to repent (Acts 8:13-22) and press onward toward our goal of heaven. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

God understands those who make mistakes because they are human. He even gave us a plan for how to correct those mistakes (1 John 1:7, 9). However, God will not approve of those who are “too big for their britches” or “lazy” unless they humbly change their attitudes (1 Peter 5:5-6). Why do you make mistakes? Are you “too big for your britches,” “lazy” or “human”?

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