“Don’t let this grief be wasted.”
A known refrain for suffering. But a second half is needed for this to grab hold and ring true in our lives.
“Don’t let this grief be wasted. Allow the redemption.”
For there are ways we can prevent the redemption. And to do so causes the grief to run even deeper than it begins.
While anger is a often normal unbidden response in the grief process, anger that we allow to fester and burn into a toxic poison becomes sin. And when there is un-confessed sin, God will not work to His glory.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Psalm 66:18 (KJV)
• Turning from God
Coupled with anger is the reaction to turn one’s back on God, blaming Him for the loss and refusing to submit to His sovereignty. As we have spoken about in other studies, while God does not necessarily instigate the tragedies of our lives, He allows them and is in control at all times. In the grief, we must find peace to submit to that.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil [or disaster]?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:8-10
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
• Refusal to face the grief
Some dismiss or ignore their grief. This is not dealing with the pain and loss. It’s running away. And that which we run away from won’t be used. What will be used is a willingness to dig deeper into the brokenness, and then pass on those lessons that we learn to others in the same place.
Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:4
• Not sharing our story
My heart aches every time I hear a couple state, “our story is private” or “it’s no one’s business what we’ve gone through” or “The world doesn’t need to hear our laundry aired.” Of course we aren’t to make our loss and grief our identity that seeks nothing but the pity of others, but we have to share it. This is part of community living and sharing – Christian community. When I share what I’ve been through others learn they aren’t alone. When we keep it to ourselves we are not allowing God to use us to further His kingdom. Remember, it’s not about us. It’s about Him. (On a side note, this doesn’t mean that everyone is ready to share their experience with everyone the minute it happens. Often, this comes with healing.)
What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. Matthew 10:27
• One dimensional perspective
Earth bound vision will hinder the redemption to our story. It has been written so many times in our studies and yet, I have to return to it again. This is not all there is. There is more to the story. What happens here ripples into eternal reasons and beauty. Not only do our experiences affect us, but they affect the body of Christ as well. God allows things in our lives to not only make us more like Himself, but also to work His will in the entire master-plan He is designing. When we can grasp this and believe it, we begin to see the redemption emerge.
That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27
The loss is great but God is greater and His redemption beyond comprehension. Relinquish those things standing in the way of allowing the redemption to come and don’t let your grief be wasted.
The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD does valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me sore: but he has not given me over to death. Psalm 118:16-18
For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Lamentations 3:31-32
Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp27p02-28-13