Some go. Some stop. And I have often found that those who stop often feel guilty for doing so. As if they are mourning too deeply or not grieving properly, because they have the need to be alone and away from life as it flows on for a little while. They feel as if they ought to keep living life as they did before their loss, keeping up with everyone and everything. They feel that if they don’t, they are weak or even have a lack of faith that God will carry them through life’s demands.
Stillness can be healthy, however, and it can be necessary before returning to the new normal that will need to be found.
Stillness can be busy.
Quietness can be loud.
Solitude can be proactive.
Grieving in this way is not a waste or “wrong,” but rather it can be one of the most productive times of life. Years later, we can look back and see it as a time of rich learning and a deep strengthening of spirit and of our relationship with Christ that would not have come otherwise.
Stillness does not mean lying in bed, not showering, or sitting on the couch glazed over and consuming food. This is not the “stopping” being referred to. Rather, I am speaking of the need to withdraw from the outside world for a time and spend long periods of time in that special chair or that spot outside just being still. Still – with a purpose. So very much can be accomplished during the stillness.
1. Worship and sacrifice
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High. Psalm 50:14
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17
Grief gives us a brand new look at so many aspects to life and our spiritual walk with Jesus. Suddenly, heaven is more real, and living in light of eternity becomes something we personalize, rather than just a vague notion. We understand the heart of the Father who gave up His Son for us in the midst of our own gaping loss.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
3. Creative expression
Some of the most poignant and beautiful articles, songs, and paintings have come from the midst of tragedy. A fragmented heart unleashes an expression that can only come from the broken pieces.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 (kjv)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. II Corinthians 4:7-9,16-17
4. Renewed purpose
There are moments, hours, even days, when we long for death to claim us because the pain is more than we can bear. And yet, we face again and again that it is not our time and there is a purpose we are here, a purpose for what we must go through, and we slowly find a new path being paved for us to walk.
Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave? Job 3:20-22
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2
The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Proverbs 16:4
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
5. New intimacy with Christ
Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief. Rarely do we grasp this truly until the breath has been stolen from our lungs because of pain and we have fallen to our knees with our physical chest aching from the emotional angst. But in this place, in this moment, we now understand Gethsemane and just what was accomplished there and at the cross for us. Our hearts have caught a glimpse of his.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:3-4
Stillness can be rich. There is a time to stop being still and move back into life but as we spend time with our Savior in the stillness, He will show us when that time comes. Because we stopped and sat before Him in silence, when we return to that which He has called us to, we will find that we have been prepared while we were still.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:4
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp29np