My brother has recently died at the early age of 52 so I thought I would write a little on dealing with loss. This has been and continues to be a real struggle for me and the following 7 things I find useful as I press forward into a new season without him.
1/The first thing is to be open about your emotions and feelings rather than having a stiff upper Christian lip! Grieving is a natural and important part of healing. So don’t be afraid to cry because
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed (Psalm 34 v 19).
2/Secondly remember that He is the God of all comfort
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3) So run to him who knows you well and “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5 v7)
Remember the 23rd psalm where David says “he restores my soul” There is a time when your soul is downcast and fragile and after a season of mourning, the Lord will renew you in a way that nothing else can.
3/Thirdly, remember that at all times the enemy of your soul will be prowling around. In times of brokenness and loss, we can be tempted to doubt God’s love and grace, especially if we don’t understand why someone had to die, or why it appears God didn’t answer our prayers. Watch out for doubt, anger, self pity or bitterness and stay close to the Lord confessing your need of him in these moments of weakness.
4/Fourthly, don't forget those around you who can be a real source of encouragement and comfort. Good friends are invaluable at these times and can help you remember God's goodness when you are tempted to forget, or are 'blinded' by grief. Their faith can be strong for you, when yours is weak and can direct you away from wrong thinking.
So please don't go through your sadness alone.
God has placed helpers in your life for these moments.
5/. This can be very hard, but remember to "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This means to give thanks in the circumstances and not for the circumstances. In every dark time there is light and in every bad circumstance we can see God’s hand of love and grace upholding us and we can thank him for these. So let your grief be mixed with gratitude. This is a weapon against the enemy who is seeking to undermine your trust in God.
6/. Don’t neglect your spiritual life. You may feel down or even overwhelmed by sadness and feel it is pointless to carry on praying, reading the word or attending your church. Actually, you need these things more than ever during times of distress and grief. It is by these that you will find strength to keep going and ultimately come through the other side to full restoration of the soul.
7. Think about eternity.
This is a great help to me, to look beyond this present life to the day when all those who loved the Lord on earth, will be reunited around the throne. This is the day promised when all pain and tears will be gone forever.
Revelation 21: 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Pastor Tony Hickman