By Pastor Jeff Hanson
Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
In spite of we as Christians have been told we just like every other person in this fallen world go through times of grief. One author put it this way, “Grief never ends, it’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith, It is the price we pay for love.”
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When I was dealing with the loss of my daughter to cancer, I will be honest and say that I didn’t like this scripture very much. How could something so horrible ever work together for any good…ever, and even today it’s a tragedy in my life that I still don’t care to think about but I have learned several things as result of handling grief.
Grief can either destroy you or can motivate you and for me it has allowed me to become more compassionate to others especially those that have experienced loss similar to what our family has. Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” We receive comfort from not only Gid but from others.
It definitely gave me a different perspective on precious, how fragile life, and how short life is, James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Grief has allowed me to not be fearful of showing emotions for I once took great pride in keeping my emotions in check. We are often told and have told our children to not cry or to suck it up and take it like a man. With the loss of my friend Russ, then my son Jeff, and then my daughter Sarah I found that I could no longer control those emotions and you know what? Its Okay! Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Jesus knew grief and likewise understands the grief we suffer as well.
So, with that, I would like to talk about the bit “D”, yes “Depression”. Something that we as Christians ignore and claim that we are immune to it since we are filled with the Spirit of God. After the culmination of the three deaths in a relatively short time even though at the time I would have denied it, I was indeed in period of depression. I was never angry with God, but I was disappointed, because I know our Lord is a healer, but my friend and daughter where not healed.
I thought to myself that how could I ever enjoy life again, what is the point of going on if everything I love is being taken from me. Now I wasn’t suicidal (I don’t think) but I was emotional numb.
So, this gets me to the picture of our cat Bullet that I selected for this blog. I always been okay with cats but I could live without them. So, one day my wife decides to bring this kitten home and I was like why? But watching this little ball of fur run around, get into mischief, lay on my feet, purr as it would nibble on my nose, I began to laugh and smile once again, (we ended up with another cat “Duke” as Bullet was supposed to be a boy and turned out to be a girl and I’m okay with that).
Our cats didn’t save my life for only Jesus Christ can do that but they did change me to start enjoying life which is one thing we need to remember when going through grief is that it will be okay to smile, laugh, and have a good time one day and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it!
Psalms 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
The last thing I want to share about grief is that it has made me even more aware of how much I need Jesus in my life, He never left me nor forsook me during my grief or my entire life and one day I will be in His marvelous presence, Revelations 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.”