Gripped by Grief
Grief has a way of seizing your heart like a Sumo wrestler. It pounces on you and sends you falling to the ground. Then once it has you knocked down, it seems to squeeze you and sit on top of you, refusing to let you go. Its grip can feel extremely tight…so tight that it is suffocating at times. The weight of grief can feel so heavy, that you may feel as though you have no strength to lift it. If you attempt to lift it, there is a chance that its weight may completely crush you. When you want some relief, or you want to be released of it, it seems as though its hold gets even more tight. Its grip can be SOOOOO unexpected that it literally knocks the wind out of you! Its grip has a way of sending a jolt of pain through your whole soul and being. The jolt of pain you experience from its grip can feel completely debilitating and unbearable at times.
Those late nights where your thoughts won’t stop racing and your wails won’t keep silent. Those early mornings where anxiety seems to strike and the pain in your chest won’t let up. The strength to get out of bed seems NO-WHERE to be found and the courage to face yet another day, is buried in your pool of devastation. The random moments of emotional outburst where you’re in the grocery store and the next thing you know you’re curled up on floor next to your basket. Or those long drives to work where you cry the whole drive there and then have to force yourself to stuff your feelings in order to carry on through the day. That’s what happens when grief grips you.
So, what should you do when you’re gripped by grief?
When life grips you by grief…embrace it. Don’t suppress it. Don’t deny it. Don’t ignore it. Move into it. Walk through it. Crawl through it. Weep…wail…scream through it. Whatever you have to go through in your grief, just keep moving through it. TRUST that God cares and is willing to go through it with you. The beauty about grief is that it presents an opportunity for us to know God in a deeper and more profound way. When we’re faced with unbearable pain we have a chance to know and experience the incomprehensible love and comfort of God.
Grief is messy. I’ll be the first to say, the journey of grief is not a pretty one or a perfect one. There will be lots of tears, lots of questions, lots of fears, lots of wanting to give up and throw in the towel. BUT my encouragement to you is, DO NOT give up on the journey and DO NOT give up on God. There is something beautiful waiting for you. That “something beautiful” is a renewed and resolved trust, love, and appreciation for your Savior Jesus Christ.
He is your SOURCE of COMFORT.
Not the alcohol bottle.
Not even another earthly being.
JESUS CHRIST is your COMFORT.
Remember the account of Jesus and Lazarus? (John 11:1-46) Lazarus was Jesus’s beloved friend that He cared for deeply. Lazarus developed a severe illness that resulted in his physical death. When Jesus arrived at the home of Lazarus’s sisters Mary and Martha, they could not contain their grief. What I am MOST encouraged by when I read the account of Lazarus is not just the miraculous resurrection that Jesus performed for Lazarus. But I am MOST encouraged by his GREAT expression of COMPASSION and GRIEF. Even though Jesus knew how the story would end, HE STILL ALLOWED his heart to empathize with hurting Martha and Mary. He gave them the freedom to grieve, to express their hurt, to ask questions, and to weep before Him without judgement. But not just that! He allowed himself to feel the pain and heaviness of losing a loved one.
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)
He wept over Lazarus and felt every bit of pain and sorrow that grief brings. He allowed himself to experience the grip of grief. If that’s not comforting, I don’t know what else can be.
When you’re gripped by grief, remember this:
Jesus knows your hurt,
no one else understands.
He has been there.
He will be there with you.
He will sit there with you in your pain.
He will weep there with you in your pain.
And HE WILL heal you through your pain.
The greatest healing is not going to come from getting your loved one physically back. But it’s going to come from the POWER and COMFORT that comes from Jesus’s words. It is the WORD OF GOD that heals the brokenhearted. It is the WORD OF GOD that brings forth new life. It is HIS ASSURED PROMISES that is going to keep you moving forward. Even in the midst of the weeping of Mary and Martha, Jesus spoke a word to their hurting heart and he speaks that same word to you and me.
“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE. He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)
Jesus has the power to take your dead and hurting heart and resurrect new life and hope in it right now…tomorrow…and forever. Trust HIM. He loves you, even when you’re gripped by grief.
Fearless. Faithful. Following.