“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” | 2 Corinthians 1:3
No, how can that be! Not another one! It was all too familiar, another phone call sharing that a friend had lost a spouse. In the space of eight months 7 of my friends buried their husbands.
Each couple were strong, faithful believers. Each one served God uniquely with the gifts and talents He provided. It is a privilege to watch how each family is walking through grief differently.
Believers grieve differently
I’ve learned over the last year that there is no one way to grieve. Each family navigates the road they never wanted to travel in their own way. Grief is not neat and tidy. Grief is messy – literally and figuratively. It doesn’t follow the steps (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in a clear, linear order. One moment may bring a beautiful memory of the deceased and the next heart-breaking sorrow. Both are part of the process, and neither should be criticized.
God provided lots of guidance on grieving in the bible. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul tells us that that believers “will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” As Christians, we can grieve differently from those who don’t know Christ. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to give us peace and strengthen us (Galatians 5:22-23). We have the example of Jesus to follow (Luke 7:13). We have God the Father who calls Himself the God of comfort (Romans 15:13). We have words of comfort and peace in the Bible. We are assured that we do not grieve alone.
Jesus had compassion on the grief that the widow of Nain displayed at her son’s burial procession (Luke 7:13). He wept for Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died (John 11:35). In both instances, Jesus brought the dead back to life, but it did not stop Him from grieving their deaths and the effects it had on the families. This validates that we are allowed to grieve. We don’t have to pretend that we are unaffected by the loss of those we love. We can be both confident that we will be in heaven with those we love and miss them terribly. Our faith allows us to feel their loss.
God comforts us so we can comfort others
In the midst of the pain of losing friends, I can turn to the God of comfort (Romans 15:13) and then comfort others because God Himself has been my comfort, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) I can rest in the knowledge that God will strengthen and uphold my friends (Isaiah 41:10) as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.
Credit :: Lillian Dehn
🎨 Credit :: Colin McFarland
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