A Challenge to Those Who Have Grieved Long:
(This challenge is not for those still counting days and months since being stung my death, but for those of us, who decades later, carry our grief around like an emotional pet.)
This is the most challenging post I’ve ever written. It’s a challenge I desperately need. Perhaps it’s one you need too.
Friends, l tell you again: Grieving long and hard is healthy and necessary. It’s imperative we take time to grieve. But after many years sitting on the cold, hard, lonely mourning bench, it’s time for us who haven’t, to ease away, and to stop looking inward, and start looking outward—and upward.
It’s time for us to stop playing the victim and time to start claiming the victory. And the victory is that those of us in Christ Jesus really do live happily ever after.
We will grieve and miss our children always, but if our grief has grown into a daily habit of self-pity, it must stop. God crawled into our grief with us, loved us in the mud and muck, and allowed us to survive because He has a plan for us. We can no longer let our vines of self-pity choke out the beauty of His work.
Don’t hear me saying we need to move on. Don’t hear me saying it’s time to bury our grief. What I am saying —to you and to me— is that it’s time we shift our focus off of ourselves and onto God and His people. Hear me say this: God delights in using our pain for good.
It’s time for those of us who have grieved long and hard to stop seeking comfort in unhealthy ways: sleeping all day, over-medicating, drinking excessively, and pouring our story out again and again on grief websites and social media. It is now time for us to stand up and pour the comfort we have received into others.
I’m not saying we should never lament. I’m not saying we should stop loving the one we buried. But we do need to step aside and allow God to pour His love through us out onto the newly bereaved.
I know some days the grief still pierces deep and we think the pain will never end. But life on this earth is brief. And our pain lasts but a millisecond compared to the glory we will know forever.
God chose to take our loved one home. And even though we hate it, we are the ones He chose to leave. Therefore, we have a purpose. That’s good news! God loves us! He yearns to spend time with us! He longs to use us! We have a reason to wake up!
Let’s reach up and out! Reach up to the God who sits with us in our grief! Ask Him for the strength and courage to carry on in a way that will bring Him glory and pleasure! Reach out to others, sharing our gifts and talents to ease their burdens and bring joy back into their lives!
Maybe it’s time we stop whining that our circumstances are far worse than anything anyone else has ever experienced. And maybe it’s time we forgive. Forgive God. Forgive others involved in the deaths of our loved ones. Forgive ourselves. Know joy abundantly!
Again, this challenge is not for those still counting days and months since being stung my death, but for those of us counting decades.
Let’s allow God to use our grief. Let’s step aside and allow Him to love others through us.
I know it’s hard. I struggle with you.
But let’s try to wake up every morning and ask God what our purpose is for the day. And let’s be quiet and listen for His reply.
Accept this challenge with me, won’t you?