If I tell you that grief is a season, like I’ve done the last few weeks, you would probably say – not mine… This feels like it will never end.
Grief is a different kind of journey – so different from any season – no matter what kind of loss you are grieving. When change comes to our lives – we grieve the things we had to give up for the change to come. When change occurs, and change in life is inevitable, we must be prepared to identify our feelings and what we lost. We must also allow ourselves to feel the pain and work through the difficulties of grief. We must be able to ultimately accept the reality of the loss and the change that came with it, and embrace the truth – that life will never be normal (the way it was before we experienced the loss) but it can be good, and normal can be redefined so that we not only survive our loss – but thrive when our season of grief finds its end.
We do not choose grief: it is our natural mental, emotional and physical response to loss. What we have to choose is what to do about our grief. If we ignore it, grief will take its toll. It will lead you to believe you are crazy, or calloused. You will find yourself ill and that you cannot accomplish even the simplest task. Life will not be lived – you will just exist in the aftermath of your loss. Like riding a macabre carousel – you will just cycle through the same devestating emotions until they take a toll on not only your mental, but also your physical health as well.
The Scirpture for today promises a full restoral after a season of mourning. I find it interesting when I read the ending chapters of the book of Job that while God restored a double portion of Job’s possessions, wealth, and status in his community – He only gave Job ten children after his children died in the first chapter of the book. Ten children died, but God gave Job a double portion for his pain. All except his children. Are you asking what is up with that? I did, too.
Job, though, rejoiced. He knew what God knew and what we can know, too. The number of Job’s children restored to him in this life were exactly the number who died and went to heaven because the first ten children were never lost. God did give Job a double portion for his children. He received ten to live out his days with him, and ten who were sent ahead to God’s safe keeping. Those children were never lost to him in the first place. It took 42 chapters for the book of Job to work through Job’s grief. I have no idea how much time that was, but I do know that grief takes time.
We will experience different stages or cycles of grief throughout our season, and we will experience some stages or cycles more than once. Grief will not look the same for any one person and we should never compare our grief to someone elses. We will get stuck in the perpetual irony of thinking because we did not grieve the same as someone else we know – that we cannot be fixed. That is simply not true. God wants to bring restoration to your life, but you have to endure your season of grief and let Him deliver the double portion of restoration to you when you have made the journey He has set before you.
Healing is a choice and you must decide that the love and promises of God are worth more than holding onto what hurts. Joy, dancing, and laughter will come, but only after the wailing, the mourning and the pain. Will you embrace the ashes of your loss so you can exchange it for a crown of beauty and an anointing of joy.
There is hope for us, not just in the shared grief of others, but in the Lord who gives and takes away. He is the God of all comfort who promises comfort to those who mourn. But, without mourning there is not comfort – if we do not grieve we will not experience the joy of the Lord. Blessings to you sweet friends. Steady on in your journey of grief.
Salve for a Wounded Soul
10 And do not grumble, as some of them did–
and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples
and were written down as warnings for us,
on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
12 So, if you think you are standing firm,
be careful that you don’t fall!
13 No temptation has seized you except
what is common to man. And God is faithful;
he will not let you be tempted beyond what
you can bear. But when you are tempted,
he will also provide a way out
so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:10-13 (NIV)
As I read these verses of Scripture I was moved by something… These verses show us that the Israelites were given to us as an example and a warning of how not to live. You see the Israelites failed to recognize the blessing of God’s deliverence from Egypt in the Exodus account. Instead, they grumbled, complained and blamed God and His servants for what they were experiencing. In our grief it is easy to grumble and complain -to miss out on the blessings of God because all we can see, feel, taste, touch and smell are our circumstances. But, these people who complained against God for so long, eventually rebelled against Him, too. We must be careful in the sorting season of our grief not to get stuck in defeated cycles of grumbling and complaining. We must instead embrace the promises of God. Like the one in verse 13 of 1 Corinthians:
This verse is often said to mean that God will not give us more than we can handle. And, I respectfully disagree with that conclusion and here are a couple of reasons why:
1. In and of my own self, I can do nothing. Without God my works are as filthy rags and perishable junk. [5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)]
2. God’s strength is shown perfect in my weakness. His grace is proven sufficient when what I am dealing with is more than I myself can bear. [And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ( a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. 8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
2 Cor 12:7-9 (AMP)]
3. Finally, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. My power to endure any temptation comes from Christ who suffered every temptation and tragedy known to man and lived without sin. Look to Jesus and read 1 Corinthians 10:13 with new eyes. [13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [ I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Phil 4:13 (AMP)]
“For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.”
1 Cor 10:13 (AMP) [Emphasis mine]
God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what He can empower us to withstand and resist. He will empower us to not only withstand and endure – He will empower us to do it with grace and patience. We must rely on His strength – especially when we have nothing to draw from.
His Strength is Perfect…