|Volume 18 Number 4 April 2016
God’s Way for Us to Cope
Loss, Sorrow and Grief, #9
This statement was quoted in a sermon from the book, Heart-to-Heart by Robert G. Lee. “Sin has dug every grave, built every coffin, enlarged every cemetery… that the world has ever seen” (65-66). The loss of grandchildren and great-grandchildren can strike the deepest core of our emotions, especially if the loss is an infant, a toddler or an adolescent. These losses are suffered by all people around the globe. In the final analysis, the age of the grand or great-grand is totally irrelevant. The stark reality is they are no longer with us, and we grieve on some level for the rest of our lives!
Grief becomes more complicated when a loved one’s death is:
- Sudden, unexpected or violent.
- Caused by another individual’s actions, whether deliberate or accidental.
- From natural causes with no history of illness.
- The result of an accident, suicide, natural catastrophe, casualty of war or public tragedy.
- Unconfirmed or no body is recovered.
What to Expect
Every symptom of grief may be more intense and prolonged after a traumatic death. It is normal to experience:
- Persistent memories or dreams about the event. Talking or writing about your loved one’s death can help break a cycle of obsessive thoughts.
- Fear or anxiety over simple activities, such as taking a shower, being in the dark or opening a closed door. Consult a physician if anxiety interrupts your normal routine for a prolonged period.
- Intense guilt over past actions or words – even guilt for surviving. You may relive past arguments or conflicts. When guilt persists, it may help to consult a support group, counselor or therapist.
- A sudden resurgence of symptoms when you hear of a similar traumatic event (When a Loved One Dies 12).
Many of us are familiar with the poem “I Walked a Mile with Pleasure” by Robert Browning Hamilton.
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
Virgil M. Fry wrote Rekindled – Warmed by Fires of Hope. He included a section entitled, “When Fires Rage – The Unique Journey of Grief: Reflections.” Note these selected quotes.
- No one likes to talk about death. Everyone needs to.
- Dealing with grief can bring out the worst – and the best – in families.
- Grieving is a process, one that takes time. And then some more time.
- The more significant the relationship, the deeper the wound, the longer the healing.
- Grief is common to all, but unique to you. There is no “right” way to grieve, only your way.
- Death of a loved one offers an opportunity to consider one’s own mortality.
- Getting over grief is impossible… getting through grief isn’t.
- Faith in God doesn’t lessen the pain of loss. It does, however, provide direction, meaning and hope. (64-65)
Our world is in a state of constant change. God is not. At times, the world seems to be trembling beneath our feet. But we can be comforted in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is the rock that cannot be shaken. His Word promises, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV). Every day that we live, we mortals encounter a multitude of changes – some good, some not so good, some downright disheartening. On those occasions when we must endure life-changing personal losses that leave us breathless, there is a place we can turn for comfort and assurance – we can turn to God. When we do, our loving Heavenly Father stands ready to protect us, to comfort us, to guide us, and, in time, to heal us. (365 Daily Prayers 34)
Biblical References of the Loss of
Grandchildren or Great-Grandchildren
- Amram and Jochebed were the parents of Miriam, Aaron and Moses (Exodus 2:1-8; 6:16-20; Numbers 26:59). They were the grandparents of Nabad and Abihu, two of the four sons of Aaron. God killed Nadab and Abihu because of blatant, willful disobedience (Leviticus 10:1-2).
- God sentenced the children of Israel to wander 40 years in the wilderness for their incessant murmuring and continued disobedience until all of those 20-years-old and above had died (Numbers 14:29). This number included thousands of grandchildren and great-grandchildren!
- Korah was the great-grandson of Levi, Jacob’s third son. Dathan and Abiram were sons of Eliab and descendants of Rueben, Jacob’s oldest son. On was the grandson of Reuben (Numbers 16:1). These four men brought with them 250 leaders of the congregation to challenge the authority of Moses and Aaron. God killed the three rebel leaders, also the families of the rebel leaders Dathan and Abiram, and the 250 leaders who were representatives of the congregation (Numbers 16:24-35).
- The very next day, all the congregation complained against Moses and Aaron and told them, “You have killed the people of the LORD” (Numbers16:41). God’s wrath was kindled; He sent a plague among them and 14,700 more people died “besides those who died in the Korah incident” (Numbers 16:41-50).
- The children of Israel committed harlotry with the women of Moab. God commanded Moses to take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders. Moses commanded the judges of Israel to kill his men who were joined to Baal. When the plague was stopped, 24,000 were dead (Numbers 25).
It is God’s expectation of us as parents, grandparents and great-grandparents to be the godliest examples of reverence and obedience to Him that is humanly possible. Our lives must exhibit the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence in daily spiritual fruitfulness. This legacy of a lifetime of commitment to God is the most valuable inheritance our offspring could ever receive because it is undying.
365 Daily Prayers & Promises for Women, Grand Rapids, MI: Family Christian Stores, 2009.
Fry, Virgil M. Rekindled – Warmed by Fires of Hope. Abilene: Leafwood Publishers, 2007.
Hamilton, Robert Browning. “I Walked a Mile with Pleasure.” Goodreads. 6 Mar 2016. <https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/289683-i-walked-a-mile-with-pleasure-she-chatted-all-the>.
Lee, Robert G. Heart-to-Heart. Nashville: Broadman, 1977.
When a Loved One Dies: Coping with Grief. San Antonio: The USAA Educational Foundation, 2012.
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