Grief My Way

Grieving is as specific to the person as it is to the circumstances themselves.

I watched various measures of grief when my father died. As I faced my final chances to tell him how much I loved him and what a wonderful father and Christian example he had been to me, I found myself at a loss for words. As I watched his labored breathing, all I could do was fight the lump in my throat. My mother sat in silence while my wife openly cried. My youngest brother visited twice but couldn't bear the sights. He didn't return until the funeral. Our middle brother was the only one who mustered the courage to share his feelings.

Joseph hadn't seen his father or family for nearly two decades. Sold by jealous brothers into slavery, he had known his share of grieving. To top it off, he was falsely accused of rape, imprisoned, and then forgotten by those who promised to remember him. Soon after things turned around and he and his family were reunited, his father died. "Grief flooded him. Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph told the physicians who served him to embalm his father's body…The embalming process took the usual forty days. And the Egyptians mourned his death for seventy days." (Genesis 50:1-3 NLT)

Grief is unique, but grieving is necessary. Stuffing my sorrow impedes the healing God designs grieving to salve. I've known some who in the face of enormous loss didn't shed a tear. Depending on their faith was admirable, but God never intends for me to substitute one for the other. Even Jesus wept in the face of trials, disappointment, and death.

The process of grieving takes different routes and time periods but must happen to ensure a healthy outcome. Denial doesn't remove the circumstances. Generally, grief follows a pattern: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The order isn't etched in stone nor is the time I may linger in each stage, but when I allow myself to grieve, I invite the healing God intends for me to experience.

Life is tough, but grieving properly-while relying on God, can move you through any circumstance you face.

Prayer: Merciful God, we depend on You to guide us through healthy grieving.

Martin Wiles
Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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