Coping With Grief

Everyone deals with grief at times. In some seasons of life, grief seems to be a constant companion. But take heart - God is always there in our time of greatest need. His word can also be our comfort and this week, Pastor Dennis shares several Biblical strategies to coping with grief. Listen in and find comfort in the arms of your loving, heavenly Father.

Scriptures used: Psalm 30, 1 Peter 5:6-7

Complete sermon notes below


Coping With  Grief

We all go through seasons of life where things seem to be going pretty good. We also go through periods that seem heavy with grief that seems to come from many directions. Grief is a pain that comes from way down deep, something we don’t quite know how to handle.

Today, you may not be dealing with grief, but keep in mind:

  1. We never know when grief will come knocking on our door.

  2. When we are not feeling grief, we are called by the scriptures to minister to those who are.

We have been given a gift of being able to hear the grief of another person and to honestly feel it with them, to feel what they are feeling. We are part of a body and we feel the pain of the other members of our body. It is a work of the Spirit that we can feel this, and it is also something that proves our love for one another. Who would seek to take on grief for another except one that has great love?

“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 

Wait for Morning

One method of dealing with grief is to be patient and understand that the pain we feel is only temporary. Have you ever been through a night that did not end in day? No, there is always a morning that breaks and gives relief to the night of our despair.

“As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved." By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!" You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:6-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 

David was a man familiar with grief. Some of that grief was self-inflicted due to some silly mistakes he made. Some of it was by the doing of others that he had no fault in. And some of it was just a product of the natural course of life. We all deal with this in the same way. We all have grief that is caused by our own actions, but often that is not the case. We might try to blame ourselves when we really have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just the battles of hell that make us miserable. Life brings grief, though, without any doing of our own.

God set life in motion and because of the sin of man, there is pain and grief in that course of life. When David experienced this, he turned to God for protection and comfort. He understood that sometimes he would go through trials, but that he could look forward to a permanent eternity that overrides temporary sorrow.

David wanted very badly to build God’s temple. God would not allow it, however, leaving it to Solomon to do. David was able to praise God without proof - he knew he’d never get to see the temple, but he still made preparations for it. He spent much of his life gathering the materials for the temple and when Solomon went to build it, he had a pretty easy time because David had gathered almost everything he would need.

We may not get to see the end of a person’s grief. Our job is to lift them up in prayer and fill their stockpile of materials, confident that their joy will be restored. The morning always comes!

Cry

One way to cope with grief is to cry.

“As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved." By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!" You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:6-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬
 

We do everything we can to avoid crying, partly because it shows weakness. It does. There is a humility in crying and that’s where we can rely on God. It is a natural human emotion to cry because in our weakness, we can find the strength of God. There are times when he have a good cry and when it’s over and we wipe away the tears, we feel better. Crying is a visible sign to everyone else that you are dealing with grief and it's a call to the brothers and sisters in Christ to reach out and help you bear that grief. God made us that way. There is a relief, a lifting of a load, that can come from crying.

Ask and Accept

Another way to cope with grief is to ask and accept. Sometimes you are told not to ask why, but that may not be wide advice. It’s a natural reaction to question things. We know that God has ways that we do not understand, but that doesn’t mean she have to suppress the “why” question. It’s not an act of unbelief to ask why - if you don’t ask it can be bottled up and lead us to hold that sorrow within.

On the cross, Jesus asked the question, “why.” Jesus knew very well what grief felt like, it was one of the goals of coming to earth with a physical body - He could go through everything we go through and can understand it personally. Sometimes when we ask why, we get an answer. Sometimes it is an unfulfilling “because,” but sometimes it really is an answer. Sometimes there is no answer that we can know and that’s when we have to ask and accept. We accept God’s will and that He knows what He’s doing. Our asking “why” is only healthy when it’s kept within acceptable parameters - if you follow the “why” too far, it can become a hindrance to you.

At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus was asked why He had allowed Lazarus to die. Seeing their grief, Jesus wept with them. And then, He raised Lazarus from the dead. Their question touched the heart of God. Of course, this was temporary and that’s good to remember, too… at some point, Lazarus died again. At that time, Mary and Martha’s grief had to be handled a different way, by them leaning on God for comfort.

Let it Go

Sometimes when we are coping with grief, we have to just let go.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s not something we can really understand how God can carry our burdens for us. It’s something in the power of the Holy Spirit and God carries our load. If we learn to run to Him, not from Him, we can learn to let Him take the burdens we cast down.