Disappointment, frustrations, loneliness, despair, death, and many other kinds of grief are common to all mankind. If we do not find some way to face our grief and adjust to it, no truly good life will be possible for us.  One of the finest articles written on grief, to me, is found in Joshua Liebman’s book, “Peace of Mind” in the chapter entitled, “Grief’s Slow Wisdom.”  I want to share some of those thoughts.

There are three very important ways in which grief can be handled properly, they are: expression, communication and participation.

The first law to help in time of grief is expression, express as much grief as you honestly feel.  Do not be afraid of your emotions.  One is not likely to break down through the legitimate expression of emotions. Rather, the concealment, denial and distortion of normal human feelings may well be the breeding ground of break downs. Don’t be ashamed to cry for tears can help wash the windows of the soul.

A second law to help in time of grief is communicating, verbalizing, talking out the hurt. It is only by speaking to others of the loss and of the intensity of the grief that gradually the pain becomes bearable. Just as a ship takes a shakedown cruise after major alterations, so a person after acute grief, tries out new feelings and attitudes by attempting to talk through the matter with someone who can share their feelings.

The third law to help in time of grief is participation.  A tendency in time of grief is to withdraw oneself from others and from activity.  Yet, at such a time, we especially need friends and loved ones, as well as something to do.  There is no real short cut to readjustment and renewed interest.  This will take time, because there has to be a time of emptiness.  But, sorrow, grief, must be faced realistically, and one must pick up the broken pieces of life and go on.

Look at an example in the Bible of handling grief. David’s son became very sick, at the point of death.  David prayed, fasted, cried, laid all  night upon the ground by his child.  Then, the child died and David arose from the earth, washed himself, changed his clothes, worshiped God and ate. The servants were surprised by David’s actions and said to him, “Why are you acting this way?  While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat.”  David answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.  I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”   2 Samuel 12: 21-23

We cannot escape grief, nor merely muddle through it.  We must use it, facing life without mask or masquerade, depending upon our help, God.  The working through of our grief is not easy nor painless, but it is the hurt that heals.  Suppressed grief only goes under ground to damage personality and body another day.

When life threw a Cross at Jesus, He took hold of that worst thing that could happen to Him and made it into the best thing that could happen for mankind. The crucifixion was hate but Christ turned it into a revelation of love.  The crucifixion was man speaking his darkest, cruelest word, but Jesus turned it into God speaking His most redemptive word.  Christ didn’t bear the cross, He used it to turn sorrow into song, defeat into victory.  As Christians, we share in His victory over sin and death.   “Because He lives, we can live also.”

4 Responses to “MAKE GRIEF WORK FOR YOU”

  1. MAX , THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING TO SEND OUT YOUR WEEKLY DEVOTIONALS they still bless my heart as I know they do so many others.
    Thank you to for serving in the Grief Share program that we will be doing on Wednesday evenings. It is my prayer that those that come will learn from God’s words that there is ” Weeping may endure for the night,but joy cometh in the morning ” Psalms 30: 5 !
    May God Bless us as we serve Him together .

  2. Today my son and I went to the hospital to see a man who was awaiting surgery. An elder and his wife were there. Each one prayed except the wife and even the man prayed. In my prayer, I said that when we have pain – we can think of the Christ who suffered pain for our sins. The man had passed a kidney stone that was the largest on record. I have arthritis pain in my neck and every night when it is the worst, I thank God for the pain he suffered for me. It was surprising that your article was on the same subject. It is good to remind people of Christ’s suffering for us and it may be God purifying us.

  3. Max, thanks for this devotional. How comforting to know that Christ is there at some of our worst moments of pain, and he will see us through the storm.

  4. So sorry but he should have been He.

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