ONE thing a major life grief teaches us is grief cannot kill us. Indeed, just as it is that the Lord tells “the satan” (ha-satan) “you must not lay a hand on [Job] himself,” Satan has no dominion over us that we would not otherwise give him. Grief cannot finish us. Only our wretched despair, in a moment of overwhelming sheer panic, can do that. And it’s always our prayer that life will be preserved; there is always an ‘afterward’ in store after every recovered-from grief.
There are so very many varied forms of grief, from losses that shatter the way life was, to change that occurs beyond the realm of our will, to the frustration of a cherished dream that cannot now ever be.
But there’s one thing grief is intended to teach us, and that is to grieve our losses well in the first place.
A grief done once is a grief done well. Just as the opposite is true.
Experience the Pain Once – Be Healed of the Pain Well
We shrink in the pain of our grief and we cannot stand to endure it. We shrink, we shriek, we shirk the work. But experiencing the brutality of the pain once — even if that ‘once’ is over days, weeks or months — then we have submitted to our pain for our healing’s sake. We’ve submitted to our pain in faith that God will help. We’ve surrendered to God, in the experience of fact. We’ve learned what to do with pain; to submit to it in the Presence of a helping and healing God. And a season of bearing will teach us we can do this! Such a season teaches us there’s confidence gained in enduring, which is a looking back over what we were able to stand.
“Well done, good and faithful servant,” we may well hear. And it’s appropriate we do.
We needn’t go there needlessly or without intention. The intention is to meet the pain right where it faces us. The intention is to go into the truth of our reality — to face it as, not a perfect person, but as a fallible yet redeemed man or woman of God.
The thesis is simple: experience the pain, for real, once, and be healed of the pain well.
But, wait, there’s more. There’s more to this; a whole lot more:
Experience this pain once, and be healed of this pain well.
Experience this pain once; experience healing well.
This pain I refer to is the generic pain of grief — of loss that has no silver lining. To a vast degree this is a confounding and perplexing pain. But what God is teaching us in facing this pain is a very important lesson; he is showing us how future pain can and will be dealt with. We’re learning vital life skills. We’re learning to manage our emotions in the crucible of an oft-pain-filled life.
Experience the Pain Well – Be Healed of the Pain At Once
How do we experience the pain well. Well, we shirk none of it. The pain is destined to consume us, so why do we protect ourselves in denial, anger and bargaining? We do that because it seems the easy way out. But there is no easy way out of this.
What seems easy initially proves to be a fat waste of time. A grief we refused to ‘do’ just comes back at us, perhaps with interest, in five years’ time.
But if we enter the pain that is real to our reality, we honour God. God esteems us when we are true enough to life, because of our circumstantial humility, to honour our reality. It’s all we can do to obey him. It’s all we need to do. It’s all he expects of us. And we’re blessed because we obeyed. Because we take to the task of our truth, God makes the task doable.
When we meet the experience of our pain well, we’re well on the way to being healed of our pain once-and-for-all.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.