Just as the natural world experiences seasonal changes, so do we. Life is not always sunshine and lollipops. Since we live in a fallen world, there will be seasons of darkness and despair.
Heartbreakingly, no one on planet earth is exempt from grief and loss. At some point in our lifetime, each of us will experience these debilitating emotions. I have heard it said that the depth of one’s grief is directly proportional to the height, depth, and breadth of one’s love. Yet, even amid deep and excruciating grief, we would choose love over loss.
As our loving, heavenly father, God did not leave us to suffer alone or indefinitely without comfort and hope. He sent His one and only Son to earth to restore what had been broken. When Jesus departed the earth, He left the great Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our helper and our healer. Jesus said, “And I will pray to the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16).
The first step in finding authentic hope during grief is to realize you were not meant to navigate this journey alone. God has already provided a source of help and strength. He reminds us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Turn to the One who is the author of our hope. We only need to ask for His peace and His presence.
Talk to God about your pain. Tell Him exactly how it feels and where it hurts. He wants our candor and honesty. Take heart in knowing that He understands your sadness. After all, His one and only Son died an excruciating and painful death.
Find safe people who will allow you the freedom to talk about your grief. Find people who will sit with you, allow you to cry, and walk beside you on this journey. Allow yourself to experience grief on whatever level is needful. Join a support group like GriefShare and connect with others who are also experiencing loss and grief. Stay connected to your church family and friends.
Research and study scripture promises. The Psalmist wrote many comforting passages which express a wide range of emotions. Find scripture passages, like Psalm 23, which may encourage and comfort you. Memorize them and quote these verses when you feel you cannot carry on.
When you can focus, read books on grief and loss. Books such as, “Holding Onto Hope,” and “Hearing God Speak Into Sorrow,” by Nancy Guthrie or “Through Seasons of Grief” by Bill Dunn may offer additional hope and encouragement.
Accept the reality that things may never be the same again, but one day they can and will be good. Psalm 30:5b says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Lean into your faith and establish a daily routine. Pray, spend time in quiet contemplation, read scripture, enjoy nature, take a walk, go to beach, feel the sunshine on your face. Do activities that refresh and restore your soul.
Live in the expectation that this is a temporary season. It takes time to process your loss and for the wound to heal. However, we are resilient, and God promises to create a new beginning. Revelation 21:5b says, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Give yourself in service. Invest your time and energy in helping others. Volunteer with our Missions Ministry and partners, such as GraceWorks. Investing in others takes the focus off of you while benefiting and blessing the recipient of your services.
Thank God for the gift of your loved one. Remember and celebrate the things that made your loved one unique and special.
Keep a gratitude journal. Research has shown that gratitude is cathartic and healing. In her article, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude,” author Amy Morin writes: “Grateful people sleep better. Gratitude improves physical health, psychological health, self-esteem, open the door to new relationships, enhances empathy and reduces aggression.” Each day write at least three things for which you are grateful.
While none of us would choose the path of grief and loss, grief is the price we pay for love. We would even say it is better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all. If we persevere, we can and will find hope in the midst of grief.