Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (NIV)
This was a comforting verse for me after my husband died. But it seemed to take forever for the blessings to come. Grief is a process, and works on it’s own timetable. No two people grieve the same way; everyone needs to work through their sorrow in their own way, and in their own time.
God has hand in helping us through those times of grief. I have found that He brings comfort in many ways – some small, some big. But He is always there by our side, and He is always available for comfort.
The New Living Translation says it this way: “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
God hasn’t forgotten those who mourn. He actually blesses them!
His comfort is real. His blessings are real. We may be swallowed up with grief, but our feelings of loss and pain do not negate the fact that God is our comforter and protector. His heart breaks for us as our own hearts break with the loss that we feel.
God doesn’t expect me to be happy all the time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 – “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (NIV)
it’s not possible to be happy all the time. And God doesn’t expect that of us. The constantly cheerful Christian is just a myth! As Christians, we are subject to all the same feelings as anyone else; happy, sad, bored, miserable, elated, etc. Don’t let anyone tell you that Christians aren’t suppose to feel angry or sad, or any other negative emotion. We are human. We feel pain and loss, even though our hope and salvation is assured through Jesus Christ. God is not disappointed with us when we feel negative emotions. He understands how we feel. He wants us to turn to Him with our pain and frustration. He wants us to lean on Him, and seek His wisdom and strength.
Grief is essential to my health
Grief is a natural response to loss. It is normal. We expect to grieve the death of a family member or a close friend, but many other significant losses can also trigger grief. Examples include:
- The end of a relationship.
- A move to a new community.
- A much-anticipated opportunity or life goal is suddenly closed off to us.
“Grieving such losses is important because it allows us to ‘free-up’ energy that is bound to the lost person, object, or experience—so that we might re-invest that energy elsewhere. Until we grieve effectively we are likely to find reinvesting difficult; a part of us remains tied to the past.
Grieving is not forgetting. Nor is it drowning in tears. Healthy grieving results in an ability to remember the importance of our loss—but with a newfound sense of peace, rather than searing pain.”
– Healthy Grieving, University of Washing Counseling Center
If I don’t let it out, I’ll act it out.
Psalm 32:3 – “When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long.” (NCV)
We can’t bottle up grief and expect to just ignore it. Healthy grieving includes finding ways to express that grief in a constructive way. Internalizing ANY negative emotion like that will only backfire on us, and cause serious problems, both emotional and physical. Some of these can manifest themselves in anger, self-harm, anxiety, insomnia, stomach issues, headaches/migraines, etc. The grief we try to maintain inside us will eventually force its way out, one way or another.
Psalm 39:2 – “I was silent and held my peace to no avail. My distress only grew worse.” (ESV)
HOW DOES GOD BLESS BROKEN HEARTS?
God draws us close to Himself.
Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves those who spirits have been crushed.” (NCV)
God chooses to be close to those who grieve. He desires to be our rock, and to allow us to lean on Him. The peace of God, through the Holy Spirit, is always available to us. Even in our pain, He is near to us. His promise is sure – we are never separated from God and His love, no matter our fears or feelings.
Hebrews 13:5 – “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.”
God grieves with us.
John 11:33-36 – “When Jesus saw Lazarus’ sister sobbing, saw how all those with her were crying also, his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved … Then Jesus started crying. ‘See how much he loved Lazarus!’ they said.”
God knows what it’s like to grieve. Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. Heaven wept at the death of Jesus on the cross. No human emotion we can feel is foreign to God. We don’t have to hide our grief and sorrow from God. He grieves with us. That doesn’t take all the pain away; we won’t simply find out pain gone. But knowing that God grieves with us, and feels our pain can lessen some of the desperation and feelings of loneliness. We are not alone in or pain. God is right there beside us.
Isaiah 61:2-3 – (Jesus) “He has sent me to comfort all who mourn, to give to those who mourn in Zion joy and gladness instead of grief, and a song of praise instead of sorrow.” (TEV)
God gives us a church family for support.
Romans 12:5,10,15 – “In Christ we who are many form one Body, and each member belongs to all the others … Be devoted to each other like a loving family … Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” (NIV/GW)
Comfort can come from our church family, if we allow them to help us. Having others praying for us is comforting. Others lifting us up in prayer can lessen the burden we bear alone. Because we are not bearing it alone. We have other brothers and sisters in Christ who are helping to bear our burdens. And not just by praying; our church and community provided meals for my daughters in the weeks following my husbands death. Spiritual, emotional, and physical needs can all be addressed by a loving church family.
1 Thess. 5:11 – “Comfort each other and give each other strength.” (ICB)
God uses our grief to help us grow.
Proverbs 20:30 – “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change out ways.” (TEV)
George Frederick Handel was alone in his room, weary and depressed. A few days earlier his orchestra had been thrown into the street after rehearsal, and the day after that a concert choir jeered his music. He was sure he was a failure, and was considering leaving London. Then a friend brought him a manuscript for an oratorio, and asked Handel to write the music. At first he refused, but when he saw the title – Messiah – and read it’s opening pages, the love of Christ struck him, and fell to his knees, beseeching the Lord’s help. Then he began his work, and worked for three weeks straight.
When the Messiah was first sung in Dublin, and “The Hallelujah Chorus” echoed through the concert hall, the audience rose to it’s feet to pay tribute to the masterpiece of the composer who had previously thought of himself as a failure.
Another way God uses grief to help us grow is to allow us to use our experiences to minister to others who are experiencing the same thing. That’s part of the reason I began this blog; to share what I have been through, and what God has taught me, with others – so they will realize they are not alone. As single (solo) moms, they do not walk alone. Deep grief allows us to become more in tune with others suffering. We can truly relate and offer support and comfort to those who find themselves in similar situations to ours. God allows us to be his instruments to help others who are hurting.
God brings good out of bad.
Romans 8:28 – “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him …” (NIV)
There is a story about a famous painter who tried to demonstrate the mystery of sorrow to his audience. He began to paint, and with rapid strokes of his brush, created a beautiful and peaceful scene on canvas; green meadows, a rippling brook, a house and a barn, fields ripe with grain, etc. He stepped back from his canvas and the audience applauded loudly. “But,” he said, “the picture isn’t finished yet.” Then he began to brush the canvas with dark, somber colors. He smeared and dabbed blotches of dark color all over the canvas, appearing to be reckless with the paint. Only a small patch of the sky and the peaceful countryside were left, at the top and bottom of the canvas. “Now the picture is finished and perfect” he said. No one applauded. The audience was quiet and puzzled.
Then the artist turned the canvas on it’s side, and the whole audience gasped. Now they could see a beautiful, dark waterfall, masses of water pouring over large moss-covered stones and rainbow hues in the air. He had changed the first quiet scene into a rich, beautiful second one while the audience thought he was ruining the canvas.
What we see as a total wreck of circumstances can be a way for God to create something new and unique, and even more beautiful that before.
God prepares us for eternity.
2 Cor. 4:17-18 – “These troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep focused on the things that can’t be seen.” (CEV)
The things that we are faced here on earth will fade so quickly once we get to heaven. They may not seem like slight things now, but they are being used to prepare us for eternity. Sometime just knowing that there is an eternal purpose for what we experience is enough of a boost to keep us going. The things that we are surrounded by now will be gone soon, and the things that we can not see will be with us for all eternity.
God gives us the hope of heaven.
1 Thess. 4:13 – “We don’t want you to be ignorant about believers who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like the people who have no hope.” (GW)
What more can you say! There is hope of heaven, where we will be reunited with our loved ones, and spend eternity with them in the presence of God. We will experience an eternity of freedom from death and sorrow. The old will have passed away, and the new be will be forever. We can be encouraged that these trials on earth are just temporary. As much as we hurt during these times for grief and pain, we will find happiness and peace tenfold in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 – “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.” (NIV)
Revelation 21:5 – “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”
What are your struggles with grief? How has God blessed you through pain and grief?
In what ways has God blessed your broken heart? Please share in the comment below as a way to encourage others who are going through pain in their own lives. Share your story of encouragement so that God can bless others through you.
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