Summary: Losses and grief are inevitable parts of our lives in a world that has been corrupted by sin. The real struggle is not in avoiding these times but in learning how to understand and deal with them when they do come.
RECOVERING FROM GRIEF & LOSS
Part 6 in Series: “Does Anybody Know, Does Anybody Care?”
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, Sunday November 2, 2008 AM
If you are a human being, there is a high probability that your heart has or even is broken. A piercing. A hole. A ripping caused by betrayal. Disappointment. Love refused, taken away or violated. Hopes, dreams and expectations crushed. It may have been caused by any of umpteen different kinds of losses leading to inevitable grief. Regardless of the details, you are left with an unpleasant feeling like none other you have ever experienced – or ever wanted to. Perhaps it is these times more than any other, that we most wonder “does anybody know, does anybody care?”
Therefore, this morning – our last in this series – we will look to Scripture for understanding and guidance regarding our struggles with grief and loss of all types.
In my short 38 years, my own losses include: good friends, a beloved cousin and god-daughter who disappeared for years after being kidnapped by her mentally unstable mother, an older brother who in our youth regularly abandoned me and now wants little to nothing to do with me, an innocence that I’ll never get back, a sweetheart who cheated and betrayed, jobs, a home sold while we were living in it and weren’t sure where else we could go; I’ve dealt with the death of loved ones who I fear were not saved, I watched my parents get divorced, my mom waste away from cancer, due to permanent health issues I have had to completely change my diet, lifestyle, hobbies and – to some degree – even my personality.
Losses and grief are inevitable parts of our lives in a world that has been corrupted by sin. The real struggle is not in avoiding these times but in learning how to understand and deal with them when they do come.
UNDERSTANDING GRIEF & LOSS
Dr. Gary R. Collins: “Grief is a normal response to the loss of any significant person, object, or opportunity.”
The Grief Recovery® Institute: “Grief is the NORMAL and NATURAL reaction to loss. Grief is EMOTIONAL, not intellectual.”
We most often and naturally connect grief with a death. But it is important to realize that grief can be caused by any significant emotional loss such as: divorce, loss of a job, retirement, sudden physical limitation, a significant geographic move, losing a home or valued possession, ’empty nest,’ realization that a long-held belief is wrong, breaking of any significant relationship, etc.
THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: John 11:1-46
Too often we hear and believe that grief and loss is simply something to be accepted, endured, lived with or even to ’survive’ from.
Without Christ, those are perhaps the best options.
But, in Christ, there can and should be RECOVERY following any loss and grief!!!
While this topic is addressed repeatedly throughout Scripture, this morning I would like us to focus on one passage.
In this example, the specific loss addressed involves a death. But, please, don’t lose sight of the fact that all of these principles apply equally to loss of any kind!
AT DEATH’S DOOR – Jn. 11:1-3
We begin this journey at the realization that a great loss is about to be experienced.
Though the timing, severity and manner may differ, even the thought of an impending loss will ultimately result in feelings of fear.
Fear of the loss itself, fear of change, the fear that comes with feeling helpless and having no control in the situation.
At these times, also, we quickly form expectations for what we think we can or can’t be done to change things for the positive.
In this case, the sisters sent a message to Jesus with the implied hope and expectation that He may intervene and prevent this loss from happening.
The sisters have personally seen and experienced Jesus’ power and have genuine faith that He can and, perhaps will, do so.
So, we accept and have faith that all things are possible in Christ, that He loves us deeply and wants the best for us. We, too, in the moments of our impending loss are apt to turn to Jesus and His power to change things. In doing so, we are right and honor Him.
However, where we often slip and struggle is in our expectations of HOW He will answer those prayers and demonstrate His deep love for us, unlimited power, and shining glory. Like Lazarus’ sisters, we tend to automatically assume that because He loves us and/or those for whom we are concerned, and has the power to heal the situation, that He will do so as seems most obvious and apparent to us.