Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
A few weeks ago, I helped once again in a memorial service. It was a time to grieve the loss of someone to death and to celebrate their life and our love for them. Like most memorials, giving time and making time to express grief is a good thing. Those moments allow our deep feelings of sorrow, or pain, or hurt, or regret, or loss, or loneliness come to the surface and be processed. The process of mourning and grieving is part of our human experience. Grief is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss.” Life brings with it all kinds of losses. Yes, the loss of a loved one, a spouse, a member of our family, a friend, a work partner, a neighbor. There are also other losses in life: the loss of a job or business, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a special moment, the loss of material things, the loss of health, the loss of an opportunity, the loss of freedoms, the loss of peace. It seems there are a lot of losses these days. And though grief, grieving, and mourning are difficult and painful, it’s a healthy process in the life God has given us. To grieve and mourn is to process a loss, to walk through the various feelings and emotions that loss has brought on. It is not good to deny those feelings or suppress them. Yes, they can be overwhelming, and getting help is a good thing, for it is okay to mourn.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
Psalms 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
The Bible gives us many examples of people grappling with grief. These are usually called songs or psalms of lament. Like in Psalm 6:
Psalm 6:2-3 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long?
Psalm 42-43 are more psalms where the author is grieving a loss and even in this, they feel distant from God. Yet they are crying out to Him.
Psalm 42:3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.
King David wrote Psalm 38 and expresses in detail his feelings and the isolation of his grief.
Psalm 38:9-11 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs. My strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.
In Psalm 130 the author cries out God in the depths of their anguish.
Psalm 130:1-2 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
Now everyone grieves differently and at a different pace. Yet there needs to be enough time to acknowledge the pain and feel God’s comfort. It’s a process, not always a ‘one-and-done’ moment. What are you grieving? It’s good to express it to God. If it seems too much, get help; contact your pastor, a counselor, or a good friend. You do not need to go through this alone.
Church can be one of those places to get help in times of grief. If you do not already have a church you attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church that loves God and seeks to live life His way. Each Sunday we study the Bible and have a great time together. We would love for you to join us. Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.
Seeking to find the good in grief along with you,
Mike McKay, Lead Pastor, Neighborhood Church