IF I was to pick a time in my life when life began to take on more meaning and purpose than ever, as I look back, it would be when I suffered most.
What an irony it is that a time I most hated in life came to be the most memorable time of my life. That is because I learned that God was not just what I believed in; God was who I believed in. Jesus became real for me during that time, for the first time. At that time Jesus became my Saviour — by actual experience.
The way I see it we can grieve well or we can grieve very poorly. If we grieve well we find that we reach out to God regarding how we truly feel about the injustice of our losses, and we receive healing even in the instant.
How we truly feel is about sadness, not anger, not bargaining, not denying; sadness!
Grieving well means we don’t imagine God doing nothing. He is doing something as he bears us. As we bellow our prayers of sullen complaint, God is listening. He feels us. We imagine his intrinsic interest. And we feel his empathy, even as if we were able to pity ourselves. But God’s care is so much more genuine and powerful and productive than our own self-pity is. It’s validation that alleviates grief because it’s been heard. God’s pity is palpable enough to cause us to melt under the weight of our loss — a healthy and healing melting. God’s pity is nothing about vengeance, nor is it anything about anyone else. God meets us where we are at, personally, in how we are feeling within ourselves at that moment.
Grieving poorly, on the other hand, might also involve God, but we may not understand that God is wanting us to go into our core. To grieve poorly is to remain in a justifiable anger when we could otherwise go into our unparalleled sadness. To grieve poorly is to work on bargaining with God — “if I do this, God will you do that?” Grieving poorly is to deny the source of the problem and/or the depth of what we face.
If we don’t grieve well we don’t just delay our healing, we prolong and compound our pain.
It’s essential to grieve well if we’re to heal appropriately in a reasonable time frame.
To grieve well is to suffer in truth with forbearance so as not to take an easier way out. But the easier ways of denying, staying angry, and bargaining end up being harder than if we had just knuckled down to our grief work.
The difference between grieving well and poorly is Jesus. If he is real in our prayers we imagine him ministering his grace in healing ways. We are getting better.
Jesus is faithful in loss, the only helpful companion in grief.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.