There’s a book I read slowly, over and over, Letter to a Grieving Heart. Throughout his life, the author, Billy Sprague, had experienced the loss of a few loved ones, including his fiance. I gave it away a long time ago, but from what I remember, the words seemed to come from a deep seated trust in God. An awe. Each letter printed on a sprawling image of God’s creation, a display of the divine fingerprints. The photography and words drawing me into God’s holy purpose.
The simplicity ministered to my heart like no other.
Around the same time, I read C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed. Though I understood his pain, ultimately, he grieved the loss of his wife much differently than I grieved the loss of my husband.
For some reason, I skipped the anger stage, and it showed me that each of us really do grieve differently. The important part is allowing ourselves grace and extending grace to others.
I think Job’s an example of this.
He loses all of his children, his whole livelihood, and his wife to abandonment. When his friends come to comfort him, he’s living in a pit with boils stretching from head to toe.
For a whole seven days and seven nights no one speaks a word. When Job finally breaks the silence by questioning the day of his birth (ch.3) his friends instantly jump at the chance to correct his theology. And in most of their arguments, they have a right knowledge of God. The problem is that they misapply their knowledge. They use it in the wrong context. And at the end of the book, God rebukes Job’s miserable comforters.
But something else happens- God also rebukes Job. And in chapter 42:6, Job “repents in dust and ashes.”
This is so important, because Job handled his suffering with great faith.
In the first chapter, when all his children and all his livelihood are destroyed, it says, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Why? Because he accepted both good and adversity from the hands of God. He rested in God’s love, clinging to Him through trial.
But as the book progresses, Job defends himself tenaciously, he questions God, and he isn’t perfect.
Did he ever sin? Yes, or else there would’ve been no rebuke from God and no need to repent in dust and ashes.
However, his grief is strung with faith. And this is what God notes.
It’s after wrestling through emotions that Job receives a deeper revelation of God, and a deeper revelation of himself, experiencing more blessing in the end than at the beginning.
If there’s any Biblical book that shows the process of grief and how to best minister to others, I think it would be Job.
The warning of his friends.
The deep pain and suffering of a man of faith.
The repentance of both Job and his friends.
And finally, the acceptance of God’s goodwill with a deeper revelation of both God and self.
So how did I get through my grief? I allowed myself to feel, but I tried to never let my emotions override the truth. The truth that’s revealed in the Bible.
I’d been a Christian for awhile. I’d gone to Bible College, and I had a personal relationship with my God. Without the knowledge of Scripture, without the Holy Spirit guiding me in His wisdom, I’m sure my grieving would’ve looked much different.
But one thing I know, the process would have had many similarities with the grief others, along with many differences. And Christian or not, good theology or bad theology, we all need grace.
**If you click on the link to the book I referenced, I have to note that “Faith and Simplicity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.”
Also, linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory