Sometimes grieving, for whatever it is in our lives, can come to the point that the grieving itself has become a sin. You say….”That is a strange assessment.” If we know the Lord as our Savior, and He is the All-Powerful One, the All-Knowing One in Whom we are complete (Colos. 2:10), and if He is sufficient (II Cor. 12:9) to meet all our needs, then is years of grieving with a self focus not a sin? If our focus is on ourselves, we have not paid attention to the living, we have missed opportunities for the Lord to use us in the lives of others, then this is called “bad grief”. I am not saying that grieving can “be accomplished” in a few weeks, or even a few months. (Remember, grieving over a lost spouse, child, or tragedy is not like getting over a bad cold; it doesn’t just go away.) Some losses/tragedies are deep and life changing so that it takes a great deal of time to even adjust our lives. The real truth is that our lives are never really the same, ever again. But there needs to be beginnings in finding a new “normal”. Prolonged grief reflects a lack of faith and trust in the sovereignty of our Good God. He has a plan. Sometimes this side of Heaven we will never understand that plan, but that does not make Him any less a good God. If we could always understand His will and His way, He would not be God; and, would not be a God worthy of our faith and praise. He says in Isaiah 55:6-9, that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Thank you Lord, because He see all things and knows all that is going to happen in the future , and He knows us.
So the next step is to get our focus off our selves and onto Him, who is the sustainer of His children. I am His and He loves me more that I can ever imagine. He gave His Son’s life for me, while I was yet in my sin. Christ died the death payment for my sin, offering me salvation, while I was yet not even knowing or caring that He loved me. Can I trust One like that? If I give Him my “gaze”, and my heart…as broken and suffering as it is… I can trust Him with it.
If we confess to Him our sin of lack of faith and trust in Him, and offer our broken selves to Him, He can begin to make some sense out of our life. As we ask Him to show us His plan for our life, and give ourselves to Him for His keeping, it is the delight of His heart to care for and comfort His child.
Someone wrote this reflecting on Isaiah 61:1-3….we would then “accept the forgiveness by the blood (of Christ),…and ask for the spirit of praise, as for any other gift of God. So then He would exchange my ashes for Christ’s garland, my mourning for Christ’s oil of joy, my spirit of heaviness for Christ’s garment of praise”.
That is a wonderful passage. The doing of it is by the grace of God only, as with all that the believer does. We get to thinking when we are grieving that we need to pull ourselves out of this pit of despondency. But as with every other “care” in our life, the Lord wants to gently and carefully guide us in this, and then out of this to the other side as He walks with us. Remember He weeps with us as He did with Lazarus’s sisters at the death of their brother (John 11:1-44).
Praise can come for His Goodness (Jere. 33:13-14) even when all else is not making sense. Praise that the Lord allowed us the privilege of having this one for so long a time; praise for the good of sharing a life with them; praise for the way our life was blessed through that person. Seek to praise for the good things. Then as He gives grace, accept his “garland” for the ashes. That may mean that we allow Him to take a life that looks like it is ashes, plans that are in ashes, dreams that will never be (ashes), and commit them to His plan and will, for Him to give us a new life in Him.
Christ has an oil…a healing balm, that can begin to give joy where there was only grieving. He will be the Master Healer in our lives, if we let Him. As we accept His grace for all this, He will lift the heaviness in our lives. His grace is sufficient (II Cor. 12:9) for the healing process, if we yield all of this to Him.
Sometimes those who are grieving think that if they “just stop grieving”, and go on with life, it means that they have forgotten the loved one, or did not really love them. We do not want to forget them or want others to forget them. It can feel like a betrayal to this loved one. This can be very profound in the life of the survivor. Yes, we do not want to forget them, but it does not honor them to go on not living a productive life. The lost loved one would want us to be comforted (Matt. 5:4), and so we must honor them by finding our Way, coping in the grace and healing of Christ. Surrender the ashes, the mourning, and the heaviness to the One who can heal, and let us be comforted. Christ must fill that void. Anything else that we try to “use” to fill that void will never satisfy.
That loved one will always hold a special place in our hearts, because no one could ever fill that place. But it is OK to go on. At some point we must choose life, and go on. If we could allow Christ to take that special place in our hearts and fill it with peace from Himself, we can go on. Peace with a past loss, tragedy or care, surrendered to Christ to make of it some sense, is the only way to go on to a life used by Him. He weeps with us, and walks with us….as we Choose Him.
May He be gracious to all of us who suffer loss, and show His presence real to us. May He give to us the balm of healing in our lives (which is really Himself), that we may glorify Him.
God Bless you in your journey to a surrendered life to Him.