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A Word From the Pastor

Posted: December 4th, 2014

Observing Grief

In the past 30 years as a pastor, I have had the opportunity to observe many people experience grief. And, I have had my own encounters with it. So, what have I learned?

Grief is universal.

We will all be touched by it. Human beings grieve. As Christians, Paul instructs us to grieve, but not to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). So, we are going to grieve—but our grief is tinged with hope.

Grief is an acknowledgment.

We have to acknowledge our lack of control. If we could control everything, we would never grieve. But, we have to admit life is often beyond control. Disease, natural disasters, accidents–all of these are beyond our ability to effect. Death comes to people. We cannot predict it or manage it. Our grief is often tied directly to the death of someone we love. If we could exert authority over death, we would. But, we can’t.

We also have to acknowledge our loss. Reality sets in. Death is the end of life. When we lose someone to death, we have to acknowledge the significance of the loss. We can’t have that next conversation. We won’t be able to hug them one more time. We cannot share the next holiday with them. It is hard. We have to recognize the truth.

We also acknowledge the reality of love. The reason we grieve is because we have loved. If we didn’t love so deeply, we would not hurt so much when death comes. However, God has created us to love and be loved. Sure, this exposes us to the potential of real pain. However, it is worth it. Love is powerful. We want to be loved and to give love.

Grief also serves as a path.

It is a path through our pain. Certainly we hurt when we lose someone we love. Our pain is real. We begin a journey once this occurs. We are able to move through our pain as we walk the path of grief. It is important of take positive steps through grief. We must resist the temptation to “get stuck” in our grief.

It is a path that encourages partnership. Grief is personal, but it can be shared. We find community with others who are grieving. Sometimes these folks are further down the path than us. Or – perhaps God can use us to encourage them to keep moving.

Finally, it is a path to healing. God can guide us through the grief journey. We can be reconciled to our reality. This is when healing really occurs. When we can begin to accept reality and be reconciled to it—we are on the right track.

We must never lose our hope. God has called us to be harbingers of hope. We have hope in the midst of our grief because our God is a God of hope. He can lead us through the pain to wholeness and health.