I had a pretty rough January back in 1997. My uncle passed, away and 25 days later my 1 1/2 year old nephew passed. He was born with multiple heart defects. He survived his first surgery, but after his second heart surgery his lungs filled up with fluid, and he died. It was a very dramatic time for our family. My mom would babysit him on Sundays, and I would go over there to hang out with my nephew, Dylan. I taught him the words touchdown and home run. The last time I saw him I went to hug him right before I was leaving. He hugged my neck and wouldn’t let go. He held on to me for 30 minutes, and my mom had to pry him from my neck. I believe he knew his fate. I believe our spirits are much more in tune with God when we are young. The older we get the harder it seems to stay in close contact with our heavenly Father.
It is difficult to deal with the death of a loved one. Often times there is denial of our misfortune, and then our mind puts us in a state of shock. It is a very numbing feeling. We replay in our mind conversations with our loved one. We often feel guilty for not spending more time with them. It is important that we share our pain and not hold on to it. We should never try to escape the pain with drugs or alcohol. It will only make things worse. Remorse is a natural feeling and we should embrace our loss. Frustration over our loss only leads to anger. Because we feel helpless we may lash out at others and place the blame on somebody else’s shoulders. It is more important than ever to think before we speak, because we could do lasting damage to relationships. We ask God, “why me?” At times making promises we can’t keep. And then just when we think we are getting back to normal we fall into depression, loneliness, and despair. We will spend long periods of time in sad reflection. This is completely normal. We just have to talk it out with ourselves, and God, until finally we realize the true magnitude of our loss.
This is about the time we have an upward turn. Our mind starts functioning in the present, and we can get back to family, friends, and work. At this time we start to focus on restructuring our life without our loved one. We accept the reality of the situation and move forward. It may not mean a return to happiness, because grief affects everyone in different ways. Some manage to move on rather quickly, while others never recover from the loss. A good sign is when we start to plan things for the future and anticipate good times ahead. It is best to stay busy and try to focus on the tasks at hand. Jesus Christ suffered the greatest separation anxiety of anyone. When He was being crucified He literally separated Himself from His Father. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4 NKJV
Grief is a tool we can use to further our relationship with God. Even if we are confident of our loved one’s final destination we need to use our experience to drive us to winning more souls. Death is a permanent situation so we start with friends and family to make sure of their salvation. Emotion is a powerful motivator, and as we heal we need more than ever to spend time with our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit can manifest our groaning to God when we are unable to. We motivate our grief into action, and we never take a chance with any ones salvation again. We use our struggles to help others overcome their conflicts in a positive fashion. Denying ourselves and placing all of the focus on other peoples struggles heals us from the inside out. This prevents our grief from giving Satan an access to our heart.
Without a struggle there is no progress for success. Grief is just another reason for us to work harder for our family and friends. We can attempt to bear the weight of our burdens alone, or we can release it all to Christ focusing instead on helping others to do the same. I have never really understood this Bible verse until now. But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14 NKJV This is exactly what I did when I stopped focusing all my attention on my grief. I started to follow Christ’s example. A few months into 1997 I started kidsnchrist. I focused on the children in my neighborhood by taking them to church. Not me, but Jesus Christ through me, reached hundreds of kids for His name’s sake. We fed them, clothed them, and shared with then the gospel of Jesus Christ. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but now that I have reread this Bible verse, it all seems to make sense now.
If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, won’t you pray with me?
Dear heavenly Father,
Bless me because I mourn. Wrap Your arms around me and comfort me in my loss. Come to my assistance Lord. Please take this consuming anguish and heal the wounds of my heart. I need Your peace that transcends all understanding to guard my heart and my mind. Rest my soul and guide my emotions so that sleep rules over the night and concern for others rules my day. Draw near to me and heal my broken heart. Help me not to grieve like those who have yet to discover Your kindness and mercy. Please make the next day better than the last and give me hope for tomorrow.
In Jesus Christ’s name I pray, Amen.