The emotion nobody likes

Eventually you are going to experience that emotion nobody wants to know – grief.  Yesterday, I enjoyed a day filled with joyful moments.  We gathered in the church and it was wonderful to be among friends, looking upward, finding renewal in the Spirit. Some of my family gathered in my house for spaghetti at mid-day, bringing 4 energetic kids, noise, and warmth of human connection. I spent a couple of hours among my young friends at our church’s Awana (elementary Christian education) later in the afternoon, a thing that I deeply enjoy. 

What a contrast to the previous day, spent at that same church, but Saturday knew little joy while I grieved the death of a friend, choking on my tears in those hours invested to sit with that bereaved family.  

Grief is more than feeling sad or being blue. Grief is a range of emotions including sorrow, anger, and loss. We experience it much differently. For some it comes like a thunderstorm, a furious turbulence that last only for a short time. Some endure their grief like a hurricane that lingers, dark, stormy, and tearing at every relationship, every hope, in life. Grief is unpredictable. Even 5 years after the death of my wife, I find myself suddenly tearful or feeling that nauseous weight of sorrow when a song stirs my emotions or a picture rips up an old memory.  

Grief is usually thought of as being brought on by a death. In reality, there are many reasons we grieve. Aging is a hidden source of deep sorrow for many. A divorce, which some refer to as a death without a corpse, rips hearts open with grief. Changes in life, a loss of work, a serious illness, a child moving out, a relocation, will often provoke unanticipated grief, sometimes masked as anger or depression.  

We are not taught to manage our pain very well so some of us try to stamp out anything that “hurts” as quickly as possible, not realizing that pain is a signal of dis-ease and needs to be addressed.  Grief is hard so some prefer to do almost anything to ‘feel better’ as quickly as possible. Distractions can temporarily bury grief;  so we take a trip, or buy a car, redecorate the house, have an affair, or drink heavily.

Like it or not, grief is a universal human emotion; it is real; it is natural; and  it can help us to mature – emotionally and spiritually!  Grief, properly understood and endured with support, will break the grip that lesser things have on our lives, teaching us to value those things that are lasting and eternal. Knowing this, a wise person will endure grief, learn from it, and grow through it.

How?

Be willing to let yourself enter into the sadness. Don’t aim at quick relief
It hurts- badly!  Many of us refuse to let ourselves weep because we think others will see us as weak.  Jesus wept, not in self-pity, which is weakness, but because His heart was broken for those who had to endure life without the hope that was found in the love of His Father.  As one well acquainted with grief, let me tell you that it is hard, bringing a kind of darkness that makes us feel that we will never again see the light, but every night is followed by the dawn even in times of grief.

Walk with others in your grief. Don’t isolate yourself

We need our family, our  church, and our community to share our grief. In our mobile and busy society, many who grieve find themselves without the natural places of comfort and support of previous generations. That is why there are churches who sponsor grief recovery groups. They can be valuable. Actually, we need to learn how to let the grieving just talk. The most healing in my life came from a few people who were willing to listen to me ramble in memories, who were able to endure my stormy tears, who loved me when I felt unfocused anger. Families who allow their members to grieve, who talk together, pray together, and sometimes just walk it out together, with patient love, can be the source of healing for the grieving.

Pray about your grief.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18, NIV)  It is true! No one understands like Jesus!  Your tears are a language for Him.  If all you do in prayer for days is cry, He will not turn away from you.  The wisdom of God is found in Jesus’ amazing words. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (Matthew 5:4, The Message) You’re probably more familiar with that passage in these words, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Receiving those words demands deep faith! We would rather pray for a life free of things that make us grieve than to allow our hearts to be broken, wouldn’t we? Those who will not let their hearts be broken are doomed to living superficially, loving things that will slip through their fingers eventually regardless of their determination.

Put your hope in God!

Ecclesiastes tells us that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4, NIV) When the sorrows come, find time to be with God. Read passages like 1 Corinthians 15, Psalm 23, or John 11 until they are etched in your mind. I sat for endless hours in the church sanctuary after Bev’s death. You may feel His Presence as you walk, or listen to music, or sit among friends. Actively choose faith, even when your emotions scream in protest. 

Hope in God! Make the decision to join others in worship.  “But, I’ll cry.” “Church reminds me of her funeral.”  “People there offer me platitudes that are painful.”  All true, perhaps, and more. But, there in the community of God’s people, your hope can find strength of numbers, especially if it a whole and loving community of faith.

Grief is hard, but it is not wasted. 

So here is the word from the Word – 
“Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. …
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
(Psalm 30:4-5, 11-12, NIV)

______________

“Turn It Over”

I spent so long
Living in the dark, living in the dark
ran so fast
Until it fell apart, until it fell apart

Now I’m on my knees
All my life I surrender
Throw my hands up the war is over
I am falling on the altar

I throw my hands up I need a savior
Oh I, oh I, oh I
I turn it over, I turn it over

I can’t go back
I’m done living in the past
I’m done living in the past
You know this man
Still you take me as I am,
oh you take me as I am

All my life I surrender
Throw my hands up the war is over
I am falling on the altar
I throw my hands up I need a savior

Oh I, oh I, oh I
I turn it over, I turn it over
I’m letting go of my pain all of my sin and my shame
Your blood has washed it away
All of my doubt and my fear I leave it all with You here
Where I am covered by grace

I’m letting go of my pain all of my sin and my shame
Your blood has washed it away
All of my doubt and my fear I leave it all with You here
Where I am covered by grace

Now I’m on my knees
All my life I surrender
Throw my hands up the war is over
I am falling on the altar
I throw my hands up I need a savior

Oh I, oh I, oh I
I turn it over, I turn it over
Oh I, oh I, oh I
I turn it over, I turn it over

Zac Williams

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

One thought on “The emotion nobody likes

  1. Oh wow! That was hard to read through the tears. Thank you for your kindness and support for our family. 💙

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