During this pandemic, we are all going through an experience that is impacting our lives to varying degrees. You may find yourself ranging from being ok to a sense of unease to fear or anger. Another thing to consider in the midst of this storm is identifying what you may have lost during this time and how that may be impacting how you are doing. I recently attended a webinar by Dr. Henry Cloud, the co-author of Boundaries, who identified major areas of our lives that have been impacted by this crisis and in each of these areas, there are losses that can be identified:
- Loss of connection: think of all of the ways we have typically interacted with people and how much has changed, how much connection with others, some extremely meaningful may have been lost or severely altered.
- Loss of structure and routine: we are all creatures of habit and depend on a level of routine. I am understanding the term “cabin fever” at a whole new level. There is a lot in the structure of my day that I love, and it feels like a loss not to have it.
- Loss of security: a common reaction to this crisis can be anxiety and fear. Our sense of emotional wellbeing has been attacked and lost. We may have felt good about life and where had been and all of sudden, all of that changed.
- Loss of control: Control is a good thing. We were created with a need of order and control. Now we are faced with something totally out of our control. It can be a challenging and sometimes frightening thing to feel out of control.
- Loss of competency: whether it is a job loss, job change, change in structure and routine, many of activities that we do regularly that give us a sense of competence or accomplishment has changed. We were created to be fruitful and work and many of the things we normally do where express this gifting has been lost.
How about you? As you review this list, can you identify losses you have experienced because of this crisis? Losses can be tricky. It is easy for us to somehow overlook them and minimize the impact they have on us. We try to put on a good face and try to move on with each day and yet when we do not deal with the loss, they can have lingering and sometimes detrimental effects on our lives. So no matter how mildly or deeply impacted you have been during this crisis, it may be helpful to consider grieving whatever losses you have experienced.
Dealing with Grief
How should we go about doing that? There are lots of wonder books and websites on grief, but for this article, I would like to spend the rest of it reviewing what Scripture talks about concerning grief and letting the voice of God speak to us as we spend time in His word. Below are just a sampling of verses and as I was reviewing them, I put them into 3 categories that I think are helpful when seeking God in our times of loss:
- Acknowledge your grief: it is important to be honest about our grief and our experience with it. The people in the Bible who expressed their grief were amazingly honest, even daring to be mad at God. God loves us and wants us to be transparent and share everything with Him, all of the fear or pain or frustration we may be experiencing.
- Receive God’s comfort and compassion in your grief: God cannot comfort us if we do not know we are in need of it! When we have honestly gone before Him, we are then in a place to have our hearts and lives touched by His unfailing love and compassion.
- Experience renewed Faith and dependence on Him: as we grieve our loss and receive His love and comfort, we experience hope. Our circumstances may not immediately change, but by spending time with God in our grief, we realize we are in touch with the creator of the universe, who we know as our loving Heavenly Father. We can walk through this storm in hope because of God is sovereign and His kingdom reigns now and forever!
I pray the following words of God speak to you and encourage you and may His everlasting love and presence strengthen you in this time.
Acknowledge Your Grief
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt. 27:46)
Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Ps. 10:1)
“I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow” (Ps. 119:28 TLB).
When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. (Ps. 142:3).
Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. (Jer. 4:19)
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Ps. 13:1–6)
“Desperate is my wound. My grief is great. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it” (Jer. 10:19 TLB).
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed. And my soul is greatly dismayed; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness. For there is no mention of You in death; In Sheol who will give You thanks? I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.
My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries (Ps 6:2-7).
You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? (Ps. 43:2)
Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? (Ps. 77:8–9)
You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. (Ps. 88:6–7)
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; (Isa. 53:3 KJV).
Receive God’s Comfort and Compassion in your Grief
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps. 30:5).
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. (John 16:20).
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Rom. 8:26).
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Ps. 18:16–19)
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18 NASB).
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5–6).
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev. 21:4).
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Ps. 94:19)
I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand (Ps. 73:23 NASB).
I cried out to the LORD in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears” (Ps. 34:6 NLT).
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence (Ps. 42:5 NASB).
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18 NASB).
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Ps 121:3–4).
Experience Renewed Faith and Dependence on Him
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; (Job 42:5).
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD. I will be joyful in God my Savior, (Hab. 3:17–18)
If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. (Ps. 63:6 MSG)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).