Friday, October 1, 2010

Coping with Bereavement

Sarah died ... and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. (Genesis 23:2 NAS)

Psalm 62:1The last few weeks have been difficult as I comfort my wife in her grief over the sudden death of her elder sister to heart attack. Although we know without a doubt that she is now safe in the presence of our Lord, the feelings within remain difficult to contain.

Many of us who have lost our loved ones would know how it feels like to be overwhelmed with sorrow. Although we are aware that death has no victory or sting on those who are in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55), yet we cannot help but feel grieved within. Such feelings are not something we can control or remove just by wishing them to go away. However, if we dwell too deep into feelings of sadness, despair or desperation, we can end up in despondency. We may even become depressed to the point of devastation if we allow our feelings to rule our lives.

Handling bereavement is not easy because our feelings and memories continue to linger on for days, months and even years. When Sarah died, Abraham mourned and wept for her (Genesis 23:2), and after that he rose from before his dead and did whatever is necessary to ensure a decent burial (Genesis 23:3-20). Abraham then went on to live his life to a ripe old age and God blessed him in every way (Genesis 24:1).

Like Abraham, we may be deeply grieved when we lost someone we loved, and it is understandable for us to mourn and weep. However, we ought to after that rise from our state of sadness and do whatever is necessary to put to a close our sorrow and the sad chapter in our lives. We should then continue to live our lives for Christ our Lord and walk faithful in God.

Rather than dwell in despair, therefore, let us wait in silence for God alone (Psalm 62:1). Let us forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13). We need not doubt or be fearful, for it is a trustworthy statement that if we died with Christ, we will also live with Him (2 Timothy 2:11). For a little while we may be grieved and our hearts may be troubled, but we ought not to dwell too deep in our sorrow because excessive grieving is not good and can lead to devastation. As children of God, we need not succumb to devastation or feelings of negativity because in Christ we have been set free, and in Him we have victory (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4).

Just as King David knew when he should grieve and when he should stop grieving over his child’s impending and eventual death (2 Samuel 12:16-23), let us also know when to stop letting our emotions and feelings overwhelm us. If we have a loved one who is critically ill, let us fast and pray, and seek God for mercy. If our loved one departs, however, let us not let our emotions and feelings run wild, otherwise it may overtake us and lead us to despair. We may be hurting within our hearts, yet we must always remember that to all who love God, God causes all things to work together for good according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Let us believe in God and believe also in Jesus, for we who believe in Him shall some day live with our Lord in dwelling places prepared for us (John 14:1-2). In that day, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, and God Himself will live with us, and we shall be His people (Revelation 21:3-4).

Dear Lord, You alone know our deepest feelings, our grief and our pain, and You comfort us in our sorrow at our point of need. Help us Lord not to let our inner feelings overtake us. Strengthen us Lord that we may hold fast to the assurance that to all who love You, all things work together according to Your purpose. Remove our grief Lord and direct our hearts and minds to see beyond the grave to look forward to the day when we shall see You face to face. In that day Lord, we shall live with You forever, in the place where there shall be no death, sorrow, crying or pain.

5 comments:

  1. Please convey my sympathies to your wife. Everything you said was encouraging, and yet our hearts ache at the separation--temporary as it is.

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  2. Thanks, Lisa. I've conveyed your message to my wife. God bless you.

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  3. We can know all that in our heads, but our hearts still need the time to mourn. It took me a LONG time when my Mom left for heaven because I also had several of my special ed. students that also went at the same time. It helped when I started listening to a Christian radio station that played a lot of worship and praise songs all the time. So many of those songs spoke to my heart. God was able to touch me through the songs they played, and through the reminder that God says to store up our treasures in heaven and I was finally able to come to the point where I could "give" them to God and know that they were there, safe, waiting for me. That is the way that I look at them now, and it has helped me a lot to go on for whatever time God feels He needs me down here.

    Thanks so much for the visit that you made to my Proverbs blog awhile back. My husband's aunt passed away and we have been very busy getting all of her estate cleaned up and stuff moved out of her house, etc., so I haven't had much of a chance to blog there lately, but will be back sooner or later. Grammy from Corgi Country

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  4. A very difficult subject. It has been good to hear you talk about your reactions and experiences about your bereavement. Thank you for being so open. grieving steps

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  5. Some Bible verses to find comfort in ...

    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 NAS)

    Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24 NAS)

    for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." (Romans 10:13 NAS)

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