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Grieving: From Sorrow to Joy
by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of November 2, 2014
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." -Matthew 5:4
While attending a memorial service, some time ago, a guest, who looked to be in her forties, shared with me that she had lost her husband when she was in her twenties. I was surprised to hear this; and so I asked her, “What was it like, being so young?”
“At first, you’re in a grace bubble,” she replied. “But after everyone goes back to their own lives, it really hits you."
Many of us, or perhaps even most of us, have experienced the loss of a loved one and have known the pain of deep grief. How does one make it through the days and weeks and months after? How long is too long to carry grief? Does the pain ever end? And where does one go for help?
I am not a grief counselor, so I am not an expert on helping people through the grief process. And I understand that people process through grief uniquely and that the circumstances involving their love one’s passing can be a substantial factor.
I have lost several loved ones in my family over the years, having attended my first funeral at age four. And when my grandmother passed into heaven my senior year of high school, I felt so devastated that I didn’t fully recover for twenty-three years, when God supernaturally healed that deep pain in my heart because He knew I couldn’t carry it into where He was about to send me.
I believe God designed us to need some time to grieve. But He doesn't want us to remain in a state of grief.
What Jesus Says About His Own Passing
In John 16:20-24 (NLT) Jesus foretells His disciples…
"I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to Me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use My Name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using My Name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.”
I love how Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary helps us understand this passage…
"But the sorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as those of a mother, at the sight of her infant. The Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neither sufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of their joy. Believers have joy or sorrow, according to their sight of Christ, and the tokens of His presence."
Joy in His Presence
So it is critically important to understand is that in the presence of Christ, there is joy, even during times of grief and suffering. So when we call on the Name of Jesus to experience His intimate, glorious presence that is love, peace and joy, He will honor our heart’s desire and fill the void of our loss with His glory that is soothing, healing and uplifting. And it can happen during our recovery process as often as we seek Him and praise Him intimately.
My friend, Lara Landon, who lost her father in her mid-twenties, nailed it when she said, “…my recompense for loss and suffering is more of Him. That's a payback that's worth the loss—though it is hard.”
Isaiah 30:19 assures us that "He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries."
God’s rich mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:23). So each day, we can experience a fresh presence of Our Comforter, who will turn our sorrow into joy (Jer 31:13).
Believe Him at His Word
It can help to know that Jesus took our sorrow on the cross for us. Isaiah 53:4 assures us, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried..." Jesus knows all about our sorrows. He Himself suffered more than anyone else on earth.
A Close Walk Helps
When we walk with God closely and we truly know Him, we know we can trust Him with our loved ones. Therefore, it may be easier for us to release them to His safe-keeping, knowing that we will see them again and that they are living in the same perfect love and peace and joy that we too experience during our praise time with God.
I have friends who continue to grieve their loved ones years after they have passed, like I did. And I believe God desires to heal their hearts so they can move forward and fulfill their divine purposes on earth.
Taking and Giving
God doesn’t take anything from us without offering us more. Jesus didn’t leave His disciples alone after He departed His body. Just on the other side of His suffering and their grief was joy. God gave them and us The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, as a comforter; and He enables us to receive “abundant joy” when we ask Our Heavenly Father for what we need in the Name of Jesus.
Call On the Name of The Lord
Dear Lord, Thank You that there is healing in Your presence. I call on Your Name now, Jesus, and invite The Holy Spirit to come near and touch me with Your healing balm. I release my sorrow to You, and I ask You to fill every void in my heart with Your peace and love. Thank You for my loved one’s life on earth and for the time I had with them. I release them to You, entrusting You to care for them for all eternity, knowing that I will see them again in Your timing. I choose to praise You at all times. Thank You for healing my heart. I love You Jesus. In Your Holy Name, Amen.
It also helps to have others pray for you and to seek Godly counsel, especially if you have been grieving for a long time. Ask The Holy Spirit to guide you to the people of His choice.
Likewise, since God's glory inhabits our praises, ask The Holy Spirit to lead you to the praise songs that help you lift up the Name of The Lord. Then spend time in praise and worship. Focus solely on God and praise Him until you feel His glorious presence, where there is no pain or sorrow. Continue to bask in His peaceful presence and lift His Name up as He lifts you up. Sometimes, it helps to make a list of thanksgivings before you begin—all the many things for which you are truly grateful. It can even be a list of the ways in which God enabled your loved one to touch your life and others while on earth, the many gifts and talents He gave them to make your life brighter. Read the list aloud, thanking God for each one.
Our prayers are with you.