By Joanie Risley
A wise friend once said, “Grief is not the period at the end of the sentence. It is a part of the sentence.” He was right. Grief is not something you “get over” or “get through;” it becomes a part of you and changes you, hopefully for the better.
So what are the specifics to knowing peace with God?
My friend Cindy gave this excellent testimony of her experience with grief:
“I was not a Christian when my daughter died, and I was overwhelmed with grief. At first, I treated it like any other problem. I sought out answers. I read books. I went to grief therapy, and I went to grief support meetings. All things I would recommend, but the comfort I was looking for didn’t happen until I became a Christian and received the Holy Spirit.
Only then did I finally start to heal. It still took a long time, and it was a lot of work. It was awful, and I would never choose to go through something like that again, but I am happy with the final result. I am a much better person.”
Jesus said in John 16:33:
“These things have I spoken unto you that in Me you might have peace. In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Many people are afraid to grieve. They acknowledge they’ve had a loss but then get stuck there and never move on to process the grief. They don’t want to move on because it means truly dealing with the pain and they believe it “will hurt too much.”
But to be healthy, the wound must be treated – and the reward of dealing with the pain is well worth it. Only those who face it and deal with it will experience the growth that comes from it.
Depending upon the way we respond to loss, we will either become stronger than we were before, or weaker than we were before.
At first it will seem as though your life is greatly diminished, but in time it will actually become enhanced if you aren’t afraid to do the work of grief.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13–14)
My friend Lois became a widow after more than 50 years of marriage. She found encouragement in Isaiah 43:19 which says,
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”
Lois actually had joy as she shared that verse with me and she was open to a new normal. Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, she was available to the new things God might do in her life and be used as the Lord’s servant.
An insightful teacher gave this comparison of viewpoints.
Denial says that there’s no bad news.
Depression says that there is more bad news than good.
But redemption says that God can take the bad news, even the worst season of your life, and turn it around and use it magnificently and mightily for His glory – more than you could ever imagine or think.
Praise the Lord for the power of His redemptive hand—that He can take something horrific and bring beauty out of the ashes!
Norman Wright in his book Experiencing Grief writes of some of the positive results of grief:
“Those who lose a loved one and move forward become more aware and more sensitive to the loved ones they still have. They develop a commitment to living life more fully. Values are evaluated and usually relationships are enhanced.
Many find a new depth to their relationship with God…. but all of these positives are a choice. They are a result of a journey, one of pain and growth… Hope will return to replace the despair. The dust of drought and dark clouds will change. There will be a smile instead of a frown, a calmness instead of an edge.
When? When you’ve gone through your grief and fulfilled your time.”
Grief pushes the willing believer closer to God.
Charles Spurgeon said,
“The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.”
Believing in the sovereignty of God, which means that God is in absolute control of all things, yields wonderful results. Dr. Peter Angier in his book Rough Waters, Polished Stones states that believing in God’s sovereignty alleviates me from worry. It releases me from needing to know all the answers to my questions. And it keeps me from being arrogant. I am not in control, God is. And He has not left His throne.
“The Lord will be your everlasting light and your days of sorrow will end.” (Isaiah 60:20)
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because He lives!
Everyone faces seasons of grief and loneliness. And when it happens, where you turn with your pain will determine how you endure it… and if you overcome it.
For more encouragement during seasons of loneliness and grief, we invite you to check out our new book, Hope for the Hurting: Overcoming Grief and Loneliness. Please click here to give and get your copy. I pray it will bring you peace in this season.