Grief – keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. – Dictionary.com
Many years ago, I was informed through a phone call that there had been a death in the family. This produced the greatest grief I had yet experienced. I was in so much pain and didn’t know how to handle the emotions. I had just turned 22 at the time and thus entered into a state of denial. I numbed the pain by putting it into a mental box and setting it aside. Not to be thought of, not to be dealt with.
Delving into scripture, I see now, how I could have used the example Jesus set to handle my grief. And how you can better handle grief. In Luke chapter 9, John the Baptist, a friend of Jesus, the one who baptized him, had just been beheaded by Herod. Jesus, being 100% man, was grieved and felt the sharp pain of this loss. The way He handled his grief, serves as a pointer for you to handle your own disappointments, setbacks and painful situations. Jesus was not in denial of his loss nor did He display attitudes of indifference. In that moment, he did these 3 things:
1. GIVE of himself to others: The keyword here is give. Jesus sent his disciples out to preach and to serve others. He poured Himself into his disciples by according them the opportunity to learn while doing. He GAVE them power to heal, authority over devils, helpful advise and a commission to fulfill. At a time he could have been getting comfort, flowers etc. from others (there is nothing wrong in getting these), Jesus chose instead to give in abundant ways.
More so, as he tried to get away for a while, a multitude of people kept finding and coming to him. In this, he was not grouchy nor did he send them away empty handed. Instead He healed their sick, preached the gospel to them and even fed them physically. Jesus was constantly giving to others at this difficult time. Giving to others takes the focus off yourself and reminds you that you have plenty left to be thankful for. Plenty that others will kill to have. There is so much left in you to add value to humanity.
2. Come apart, rest a while and rejuvenate: On more that one occasion, Jesus went aside to a private place in the desert to pray and be encouraged by his Father. This is an important part of grieving. Setting aside a time and a place to be alone. In this alone time, get on your knees and pray to the Father to help you with your pain. Scripture tells us:
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. – Psalm 34:18
In solitude, read the scriptures, meditate on it. Reflect on the situation. Look forward to the future. Plan the future. Enter the future – don’t stop!
3. Repeat: In Luke chapter 10, Jesus iterated the first 2 points. He sent his disciples out AGAIN to preach and serve. He gave to the multitude AGAIN. He was transfigured on a mountain while he prayed. So should you as well my friend – iterate. Give some more, come apart some more to rest and rejuvenate. With your strength building, rejoice in your spirit. Now go out in full measure and accomplish all that God has called you to. Don’t stop!