Grief is the loss of something that has a special meaning to us. It could be a friend, relative, belief, job, goal, an expectation, etc. Everyone responds to grief in a different way. Many books and articles have been written about the grieving process and the stages that we go through in those processes.
It is not uncommon for people who are suffering from grief, to think that they are the only ones that are dealing with grief. As a result, they may not talk to anyone about the grief and attempt to deal with it in their own terms.
There is a tendency for people who are suffering grief, to concentrate on their grief rather than looking ahead to a time when our joy will be complete. The time when we are united with our Heavenly Father, the one who “took up our pain and bore our suffering” so we could spend eternity with Him.
The truth is that everyone has had some experience with grief. It is also true that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. I cannot prescribe a cure for anyone dealing with grief; only the Holy Spirit can do that.
I do know that it is easier to deal with grief if you can identify with someone who has experienced a similar loss. There is a certain amount of comfort in knowing that you are not alone during the process. This is what causes a support group to be effective for many people.
Many of our small churches are suffering from grief too. They are no longer growing and serving the community in the same way they were more than 50 years ago. They do not accept new members because they want to grieve alone. Members will frequently express anger toward people who would like to revitalize the church because they have to let go of ‘the way it used to be’..
I would like to direct your attention to someone who knows about grief. We can find out about this person in Isaiah 53. In Handel’s Messiah, he included Isaiah 53:4 (KJV) He wrote: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Who is the writer talking about?
Let us look at the first few verses in Isaiah 53 and we can better understand who the writer is talking about.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:1-6 (NIV)
Isaiah was talking about Jesus Christ. He was the one that came to bear our grief. God’s plan for our salvation was for his son to die in our place so that we could spend eternity with God, our Heavenly Father.
Why do we go through periods of grief? When a person is going through a time of grief, they frequently wonder why a God of love would put anyone through this process.
When Jesus told his disciples that he was going to be crucified, his disciples were filled with grief. John says this about Jesus in John 16:
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:19-24(NIV)
The writer of 1 Peter writes this in the first chapter of his epistle:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9(NIV)
Next time you suffer from a loss of a friend, relative, belief, job, goal, an expectation, etc., turn your focus to God, put your faith in Him knowing that the result of your grief is joy. Someday soon, your joy will become complete.
The disciples grieved at Jesus death, later they received the joy of knowing that Christ had overcome death for them and was going to the Father. By faith, we can also look forward to be joining our Heavenly Father. Then will our joy be complete.
(Scripture references used in this article were obtained from: http://www.biblegateway.com September 13, 2013)