It’s been exactly one week and counting since the tragic loss of my co-worker’s 19 year old daughter. My heart is still heavy and my mind still racing at 4 a.m. in the morning. Shouldn’t I be moving on by now? After all, not only am I a Christian, but I ‘m a hospice chaplain. Shouldn’t I have enough faith and experiences to soar through this time in my life. Why is knowing that she is in a much better place than me not enough to settle my every thought? Here is the truth about grief.
Grief is a process, not an event. You don’t just wake up the next morning after a deep loss and say, “Hey, I’m ok, let’s put all this behind me.” Sure, we all just want to move forward, but grieving is never that simple. When someone you love is missing in your life it takes time and a whole lot of adjustments before a person can find a new normal in this life. You need time to accept the reality that they are really gone. You need time to process your deepest thoughts and feelings. And, you need time as you learn daily how to trust God time and time again with this new reality.
Here is what I am deeply afraid is the perception of even most Christians. Most people believe that if I have faith, then I shouldn’t still battle the flesh. If this is the case, then everyone’s faith is shallow. The truth is that the flesh is always pulling on me, which is why I need faith to pull me through the days and the nights. You can wholeheartedly believe that God has a greater plan and will take care of you, yet still be processing your human emotions. Yes, there is a God, but you’re not Him. We can’t see what He sees and we don’t know what He knows.
God’s word talks about there being a battle within us. There is a tug of war between the flesh of man and the spirit of God. Only the spirit of God can give us peace, joy, and happiness. However the flesh can make us stir crazy and worry to death about everything. In our heart of hearts we know that only God can handle things, but in our flesh we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders.
Now, I don’t know what might be keeping you up at night. But, I do know that grief is a journey. A journey we can’t get through alone. A journey that usually takes longer than we would like it to take. A journey that is necessary if we are to find real peace and real perspective in this life. Here is what God has led me to continue to do…..
KEEP PRESSING FORWARD….(Philippians 3:12) 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
KEEP PRAYING….(Philippians 4:6-7) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
KEEP PERSPECTIVE… (2 Corinthians 4:8)We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
KEEP PEACE…(John 14:27) Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”