Have you ever experience a loss of someone or something that caused pain you didn’t know you could feel? Grieving is a feeling of deep sorrow and it is a natural, God-given process to help us recover from loss. Often, however, it feels anything but natural.
All trauma involves loss of some kind, and when you lose someone or something that is close to you, you may even lose a sense of who you are as an individual. But chances are, there is someone who knows what you’re going through because many have been there themselves.
You are not alone.
In order to understand how grieving can bring about healing, we first need to understand the different stages of grief:
- Denial and Anger: Natural feelings after a loss that can be helpful—denial lightens the blow of the loss and anger provides energy when one feels overwhelmed.
- No Hope: The darkest part of the grieving process—people expect no good to follow. Sadness, suicidal thoughts, and loneliness stem from hopelessness.
- New Beginnings: A new identity develops and the “new normal” is discovered. At this point, the individual may be ready to move forward.
Have you experienced these stages of grief? Maybe you know someone who is experiencing these stages now. Consider what helped you find your way from denial to recovery.
This is the second post in our series covering the topics from our Never Alone: Trauma Healing Program. To learn more about this topic, check out Module 3: Grieving and Module 4: Bringing Pain to the Cross.
The False Bridge: Tears Are Not a Sign Of Weakness
Sometimes, those who have experienced grief try to take the false bridge. They jump right into new beginnings and try to move forward without first letting themselves feel anger or hopelessness. When some of the stages of grieving are skipped, proper healing cannot occur.
Although stages of grief should not be averted, they occasionally have to be delayed. Sometimes, in a Military setting especially, losses need to be set aside in order to maintain focus. The mission needs to press on and duties cannot falter. But when we are safe and able to reflect on grief and its stages, we must take the grief journey.
Some losses are harder to accept than others, such as when:
- There are many losses at the same time
- The loss is sudden or violent
- There is not a body to be buried
- You cannot participate in the grieving rituals
- You lose a trusted leader
- The bereaved have unresolved problems with the dead person
- Death comes too soon
- Your culture discourages a show of emotion or tears
While you are grieving, you may experience weeping and mourning, which is a normal part of the healing process. Servicemen and women are sucked into the false belief that tears are a sign of weakness. Take a look at what the Bible says about grief and weeping:
What loss have you experienced that is significant to you right now? What stage of grief do you believe you are in and how do you feel you can face it? Consider resting in the hope that comes from the Lord.
What Do We Do With Our Pain?
While we are trusting in the hope of our Lord, we can also trust that He understands our pain. He cares and He wants to help you find healing. Our earthly support networks are very important, but we need to bring our greatest pain to the Cross (Jesus Christ).
“Lamenting is an act of faith, not one of doubt.”
Lamenting is a way that we can bring our pain to God. But how is this done? Lamenting typically comes in seven parts:
- Address God by saying, “O God”
- Review of God’s faithfulness in the past
- A complaint/reason for your grief
- A confession of sin or claim of innocence
- A request for help
- God’s response (often not stated)
- A vow to praise, statement of trust in God
Lamenting may not always include all seven parts, and they may not come in any particular. The most important benefit of lamentation is that it allows a person to fully express their grief to God—even going as far as accusing God for their pain.
Even still, the lament is usually followed by a statement of trust in God. When we are honest with Him and speak the truth about the injustice we feel, we still recognize that He is the God of justice. Our lamenting is an act of faith, not one of doubt.
God Has the Power to Relieve Our Pain and Suffering
Not only does God care about us when we are suffering, but He also has the power to heal us from our pain. Listen to these stories from Veterans who were able to find a release from their own pain.
Even if our pain is not completely taken away during this life and we wonder, “will suffering ever end”, we are promised in the book of Revelation that, as Christians, we are to spend a pain-free eternity with Him:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Revelation 21:1-5 (ESV)
When we let go of our pain, God offers us His kind of freedom and healing. Jesus Himself referred to this passage of scripture from Isaiah, showing those who listened to His words that the scriptures spoke of Him:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn…” Isaiah 61:1-2 (ESV)
Bringing your pain to the cross is a major step toward healing—it releases your burden and helps you depend on God’s grace and love. And, you can continue to bring your pain to God whenever there is a need. He is always listening and He is always there for you.
Bringing Our Pain to the Cross
By defining grief and knowing why it is important to experience all the stages of grief, we can seek healing—always bringing our pain to the foot of the Cross. As we seek God’s Word and Bible verses about healing and strength, we remember that God will be there for us in our time of need.
“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 (ESV)