“All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.” Job 42:11 NIV
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” — Washington Irving
I will never be free from grief. I will always miss my deceased husband, even though he’s been gone for a few years. Death comes to us all. We all hold some grief for someone in our hearts.
Grief is the final act of loving someone. The greater the love the greater the grief. We never forget the special person who was so much of our lives. We never forget the life we once enjoyed with our loved one. In fact, when I buried my husband, I also buried a big part of me and the life we had. That part is done. There’s a void. Who am I? What do I do? Where do I go? How do I go on? It hurts to breathe. Every step is a gigantic effort. And faith is tested. Over and over. That doesn’t mean you’ve lost your faith. You may get angry at God. You’re not condemned. You still believe. Pour all of it out to your father. It’s your “dark night of the soul.”
Remember the loss of your first pet or grandparent? I do. The first smack in the head and heart of tremendous loss. Tears may still come. They were a part of you and who you’ve become. We will still experience grief on this side of heaven. The good news is that our father will dry every tear. He has stored our tears in a bottle.
Job was a righteous man through-and-through, but he still endured incredible pain and loss—in one day! The father restored Job and added to his possessions and blessed Job with a new family. But Job still needed comfort. He still lost much that was unique to him. A part of him.
There’s gifts from grief like intimacy with our father, compassion for others, stronger faith, honesty, especially reminding us we are but dust and our father helps us in our fragility. When we have mourned awhile, gratefulness will pour out of our hearts because our father gifted us with a wonderful person and experiences. It never, ever happens overnight.
Forgive yourself if you’ve said or done things in the midst of grief. Forgive others who are suffering grief too. You will “companion” someone in grief and ease their pain someday. In fact, many great spiritual leaders say that your greatest ministry will come from your greatest pain. Study grief in the Bible and other resources like support groups, godly books on grief, and counseling with your pastor or another trusted friend. Pour it all out to your heavenly father.
We are told to be grateful in all things but not FOR all things. Sometimes, father, we don’t know how much we need you until you’re all we have. We are grateful you understand and you’re always with us through “the Valley of the Shadow of Death.”
Our feelings may be raw, confusing and agonizing but we KNOW you will ease our suffering and bring good out of it. We remember the suffering of your son and the victory of his resurrection. We may not feel grateful, but we know without a doubt, good will come from our loss. Thank you for the loved one we’ve lost. Redeem our pain.