Summary: I preached this message on grief in the Emotion Quotient series on my father’s birthday one week after he had gone to be with the Lord.
THE EMOTION QUOTIENT – PART THREE
Psalm 30 - ©Larry L. Thompson (2003)
“I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.  O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.  O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.  Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name.  For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.  When I felt secure, I said, "I will never be shaken."  O Lord, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.  To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:  "What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?  Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help."  You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,  that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
I do not believe in accidents when it relates to the things of God and His activity in our life. I had determined to use August as a time when I would preach this series, “THE EMOTION QUOTIENT.” I had also mapped out the four emotions that I wanted to deal with from a biblical perspective. I went so far as to put them into my schedule by date as to which sermon I would preach on the four Sundays in this month. All of this was done several months ago prior to my father’s death. As a matter of record, I was schedule to be out this Sunday on vacation with my family and I had already asked Pastor John to make sure we were covered for this Sunday. Three weeks ago we buried my father after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I had prayed for many months asking the Lord to take Dad home and end his suffering. I have ministered to hundreds of families who have lost loved ones and encouraged them in the word. However, never having a parent die I can honestly say that I was not prepared for the void that filled my heart and the grief that I have been forced to face in the death of my dad.
As I looked at this sermon schedule I felt the leadership of God’s Spirit to delay my vacation in order to preach this message. I tell you today that this sermon is really not so much for you, but it is for me. I don’t mind if you listen in and if the Lord uses it to minister to you then to Him be glory. (Prayer)
Bum Phillips, former coach of the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans once made the comment, “There are two types of coaches in the NFL: them that have been fired, and them that are gonna be fired.”
His statement applies to our discussion of dealing with today’s EMOTION QUOTIENT topic, the study of GRIEF. There are two types of people in the world; those who grieve and those who will grieve. We can’t escape it. Neither can we avoid it. At some time or another, we’ll all face a situation—either by the circumstances of life, or by the death of those we love, or by friends or by people we trust, or by a drastic change in our environment, or even by own stupidity. It’s a fact that there will be times in our life when we hurt and grieve. Just because you make a commitment to follow Christ, you don’t receive an exemption from grief. However, our grief doesn’t have to destroy us; Christ offers us hope in dealing with our grief, as a matter of truth, only Jesus can take our hurt and turn it into GOOD GRIEF.
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first identified Five Stages of Grief experienced by people going through a significant period of loss. These stages are described as: DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION, AND ACCEPTANCE. While I am thankful for the psychological breakdown and definition from the medical perspective I also realize that many times Christians delay their healing by neglecting what God’s word has directed as a biblical process as is beautifully illustrated in David’s Psalm in chapter 30.
In Psalm 30, God teaches us how He wants us to handle the grief and pain in our life. When you are dealing with the emotion of grief there are three biblical principles we must keep in mind. Let’s take a look at each one.