Bible Studies for Life
Craig Bowers, pastor
Wynnbrook Baptist Church, Columbus
Christmastime can be very challenging for those who are working through grief, especially when there is an empty place at the kitchen table for the first time.
Grief is always associated with loss – be it the passing of a family member or friend, the death of a marriage, or even a house destroyed by fire, flood, or tornado. Grief is often associated with absence, such as the deployment of a military family member. Life transitions and changes can also trigger grief, especially at the holiday season.
When we journey through grief, the valley can be long, dark, lonely, and scary. Even in the valley, we have a God who listens, holds, and loves us. Unhealthy grief is marked by camping in the valley too long, remaining in one place, alone and hopeless. Sharing, listening, loving, trusting, and hope characterize healthy grief.
Call to God when you are in sorrow
No one really understands the depth or experience of your sorrow. For those seeking to comfort someone grieving, please avoid saying, “I know how you feel” followed by an explanation of your loss. Comforting others is not about you. Every relationship is unique.
The only one who really understands the depth of our emotions is our Lord. Talk to God about how you feel. Even if you are angry, share your heart with Him! The journey through grief requires sharing. There may be a time for silence, but to cleanse the deep hurt out of your heart, talk to God. Listen to Him. Find a “safe friend” who will allow you to share your heart without judging you or lecturing you.
Rest in God who is compassionate toward us
Grief is overwhelming at times. The Psalmist gives us a beautiful example of working through grief. He reminded himself that God truly does care and helps the helpless. God rescues!
As you grieve, allow the love of God to wash over your soul. Remind yourself of how He has been gracious to you in the past, and He will be gracious to you in the present. He is able to pull us out of our sinking state and walk with us through the darkest days. He rescued our souls from the pits of hell when we were helpless and hopeless.
Why? Because He loves us. He loves you.
Trust in God who cares for us in our darkest hour
The chapter ends with a shout of Hallelujah. That may be the last emotion you feel like shouting right now, but remember the Psalm ends there. The psalmist didn’t begin with a Hallelujah. He started out with a cry for help. The psalmist went among the people of God and worshipped Him with them.
This is an important reminder that we need to trust in God and join with others. As much as you may not want to be around people, join with the people of faith. Allow the songs and words of faith to encourage and enrich your faith in God. He will grant endurance.
For those who are walking with someone on this journey, remember that your presence is far more powerful than your words. Speaking may make you feel better, but not necessarily the person you are seeking to comfort.
Be willing to be uncomfortable with silence. Your goal is to minister. Your silent prayers and helpful presence will deeply minister to someone on the journey of grief.