How does one deal with the loss of a child, a spouse, a sibling, or a close friend? What does one do with all the grief that floods the soul in such a time? My prayer is that they turn to God and not from Him.
When we lost Eddie in Iraq, because we had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, it seemed only natural to turn to God. As a matter of fact as I reflect back on that time it was almost as though we were on autopilot. Actually God was the pilot. In what might seem a strange statement to some, I miss those special close times with my Jesus. I know I could have them just as equally in times of joy, however grief seems to bring a special attention to us from our Lord.
One should always face their grief head-on, in an honest and direct manner. Crying cleanses the soul of heartache and bitterness. We can be so overwhelmed by our grief that we completely lose our appetite. The psalmist had experienced such grief:
“My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread.” (Psalm 102:4)
If you are a friend of someone facing the loss of a loved one, looking after their physical needs is one of the kindest and helpful things you can do. Making sure they eat, making phone calls for them, tidying up their home, just being there for them is so appreciated. Mundane chores in a time of grief can seem as a mountain of responsibility. It literally takes mounting up strength just to eat. So be that quiet and helpful friend meeting their basic needs. Of this David wrote eloquently:
“For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.” (Psalm 109:22)
For you the grieving one, as a man who has buried his only son, may I give you a word of encouragement? You will never get over the loss of your loved one. You do not forget the pain, but you don’t remember the trauma. I’m not sure if that makes sense right now, but over time it will. The mercies of God are fresh and anew every morning. God knew that we would grieve and He had His prophet Jeremiah write a book titled Lamentations, and in it he writes:
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
If the Lord is your portion, you can indeed hope in Him because His compassion towards us never fails. God does not run out of mercy towards us. The fact that we wake up every morning is our first sign that our God is faithful. And in the morning, especially in times of grief, is a great time to turn to God in prayer. Matthew Henry, commenting on Psalm 102, wrote these wonderful words:
“The whole word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but here, is often elsewhere, the Holy Ghost has put words into our mouths. Here is a prayer put into the hands of the afflicted; let them present it to God. Even good men may be almost overwhelmed with afflictions. It is our duty and interest to pray; and it is comfort to an afflicted spirit to unburden itself, by a humble representation of its griefs. We must say, Blessed be the name of the Lord, who both gives and takes away.”
The words are wonderful and comforting to me because they ring true in my life. Hundreds of times I have unburdened my afflicted spirit to God. I have humbly brought my griefs to Jesus and He has always received them gladly. Why does He do that? Because it is Who He is. It was His mission in life. in Luke 4 Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2, but I want to share the first three verses of this wonderful promise of salvation:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Dear friend, are you grieving the loss of a loved one? If so, I want to pray for you specifically for your loss. I also want to encourage you to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ right now and exchange your ashes for His beauty, your mourning for a spiritual anointing of heavenly oil of joy, to give up your spirit of heaviness and wear His garment of praise. None of this may seem possible to you right now and on your own it is not.
But if you will turn to Jesus in your time of grief, He will be there for you; He is there right now.
All you have to do is call out to Him.
Our God is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord our healer.
Give Him your broken heart and He will miraculously put the pieces back together.
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers