|Volume 17 Number 11 November 2015
God’s Way for Us to Cope
Loss, Sorrow and Grief, #4
Becoming stuck or frozen in grief causes emotional peril to recovery and healing. Two questions were asked from Grief Share: Your Journey from Mourning to Joy that must be answered in order to avoid becoming stuck in grief.
- Would God take someone away from you that was essential to your life?
- Would God lock you in that situation and keep you there?
Two profound statements were made for objective consideration. If God answered all of your questions and you understood fully why your loved ones died, they would still be dead! If you could have them back (i.e., they hadn’t died), you would get them back just the way they were when they died – dying!
In light of this inescapable truth, consider normal grieving vs. unhealthy grieving.
What Is Normal Grieving?
- Having bad days
- Being blindsided by:
- A smell
- A word/a phrase
- A picture or something in a picture
- A song or words in a song
- A passage of Scripture
- An occurrence
- Crying whenever and wherever the emotion overtakes you
- Wanting to be alone for a certain amount of time every day/every week
- Talking to the person
- Moderate depression
- Loss of appetite
- Wanting them back
- A haunting despair
- An overwhelming hopelessness
What Is Unhealthy Grieving?
- Refusing to accept help from those who are genuinely trying to be there for you
- Attempting to hold God accountable for your loss
- Accusing medical professionals (doctors, nurses, hospice staff, lab technicians, etc.)
- Filing unfounded suits for incompetence/negligence
- Being consumed with self-pity
- Allowing grief to become your identity
- A constant desire to live in the past
- Blaming the dead person for leaving you behind
- Turning against immediate family, other relatives, friends, members of the church
- Unrelenting anger, guilt, remorse, bitterness
- Prolonged isolation and separation from others
- Becoming trapped in a continual cycle of grief
- If only I had…
Confronting and Coping
Confront – To tackle, face up to, meet head-on, deal with it
Equals Recovery and Healing
Cope – To manage, handle, survive, get by, muddle through
Keys to Avoiding Becoming
Stuck/Frozen in Grief
- Live in God’s Word! (Read Psalms 19 and 119.) The Bible is the perfect guide—always!
- Pray all the time! “Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
- Give God thanks in everything! “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- Remember your loved ones exactly the way they were—the good, the bad and the ugly! If our loved ones were saints, they were not perfect saints! “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23).
- Develop new relationships with those who have suffered similar losses. “…weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another…” (Romans 12:15-16).
- Turn your thoughts to helping others (Matthew 25:31-46). “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me” (vs. 40).
- Make visits to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehab centers.
- Send cards and make care packages.
- Remember the good times; replace your “if only” with Scripture. “…but this 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).
- True healing can only occur when you let grief run its course. Choose the right people with whom to share your loss. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress” (Philippians 4:13-14).
- Realize that getting better is moving away from the disabling aspects of grief. It is not a betrayal of that person for you to get better. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Biblical Examples of Reactions and
Responses to Traumatic Personal Losses
- Abraham mourned and wept over the death of his wife Sarah (Genesis 23:1-4).
- David and Bathsheba mourned the death of their infant son (2 Samuel 12).
- David mourned the death of his adult son, Absalom (2 Samuel 18-19).
In his editorial “Coping with Grief,” Dennis Loyd, Associate Editor of Gospel Advocate, wrote “Whatever the cause of our grief, we have ways to confront it and cope with it. God’s Word becomes our light. Prayer becomes our appeal. Christian fellowship becomes our comfort. Jesus becomes our hope” (3).
Helen M. Young wrote in, When You Lose One You Love, these most provoking thoughts about "Accepting Bereavement: The Healing Process of Grief." She used the metaphor of ocean tides. “Grief is like the ocean tides. It comes in waves. Just when you feel you are doing better, a wave of grief will sweep over you that is overwhelming. You weep as you did in the initial days of grief…The tides of grief go in and out” (8-11). How well this writer can identify with that!
In his book, Everyday Comfort, Randy Becton stated four paths that delay grief (84-85).
- Denying does not ease the pain of your grief, whether you deny feelings or act like nothing has happened.
- Minimizing your need to grieve does not ease the pain.
- Idealizing the one you lost does not help. Telling the truth about the good and bad in that person’s life is all that frees you to move toward recovery.
- Retreating to another time in memory only delays grief. The way to the goal is straight ahead.
God is always as near as we allow Him to be, giving us constant comfort and hope. “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
Becton, Randy. Everyday Comfort. Grand Rapids: Baker House, 1993.
Grief-Share: Your Journey from Mourning to Joy. Wake Forest: Church Initiative, 1984.
Loyd, Dennis. “Coping with Grief.” Gospel Advocate. Editorial. October 2013, 3.
Young, Helen M. “When You Lose One You Love.” Accepting Bereavement: The Healing Process of Grief. Nashville: 21st Century Christian, 1999, 8-11.
Click Here for a FREE monthly reminder when
each new issue
Gazette Online has been published to the Internet.
Click Here to send the URL for this page to a friend
Click Here to send your comments about this page to Gospel Gazette Online