One of the toughest journeys of life is grief – whether it be from the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of health, or a tragic occurrence – grief is tough to handle. Outwardly we can walk into a crowd and no one knows the pain we are feeling inside. I’ve stood in the check-out line at Walmart and just noticed people, wondering how many are dealing with unspeakable pain within. The outward journey of grief is difficult in and of itself, but the inward journey is even harder.
I once heard someone say, “To heal it you have to feel it.”
The quote is partially true. When we deny the pain and suffering of our loss on the inside, we are avoiding the inward journey of healing. As a pastor, I have spent countless hours talking with people about grief. It isn’t a subject anyone enjoys. The pain is very real and at times, I feel as the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 22, “My strength is gone, gone like water spilled on the ground. All my bones are out of joint; my heart is like melted wax.”
Help comes to us when we reach out for the help of God. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. It is a natural instinct to want to protect that which hurts. I remember as a boy having a bicycle wreck and not wanting my neighbor to even look at my knee it hurt so bad. She would say over and over again,”Mike, you have to let me see it in order to help you.”
I was a little boy and believed if I kept it covered up, I could protect the injury and the pain. We are like that with God as well. As long as we cover the pain and suffering, we are pretending to be self-sufficient, isolating ourselves from God and the world.
But when we open our grieving hearts to God, allow Him to touch our pain, give Him the freedom to move in and through us, the healing begins.
Tragedy does alter us. No one can ever “be the same” after a tragic event, but we can learn to courageously live with what has occurred. We can begin the process of moving forward, of healing, of accepting what has been done and believing in God’s ability to turn what was meant to harm us to good.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20.