Grief: Its Navigator
As we have learned, there is an entire spectrum of emotions and reactions that can result from the grief experience. So what makes the difference in how various individuals manifest the results of their grief? Let’s consider the following:
Grief is the life-altering anguish that permeates one’s being as a result of profound loss, its potential for imprint ranging from anger, bitterness, and resentment to anticipation, benevolence, and renewal, with the difference in outcome resting on the degree to which the sufferer seeks God’s solace, and relies on Him to transform fear and floundering into faith, fruitfulness, and flourishing.
Being the analytical person that I am, I insist that we investigate this last phrase. The “degree to which the sufferer seeks” implies that there is a choice to be made . . . we can seek God’s solace intermittently or consistently, always or never, whenever we’re in the mood or no matter our mood. We can seek it when we’re having an especially bad day or we can seek it regardless of the day’s content. We can seek it only on Sunday mornings when our pastor does all the work, or we can seek it on Saturday night when we just can’t pull it together enough to go out with friends and even praying requires effort. We can make seeking God a priority or we can wait until everything else is done and then determine whether or not there is any energy left for seeking.
The choice is ours. The degree to which we seek God’s solace is up to us, but we must realize that the difference in the result is at stake.
And within that phrase is, of course, the small word “seek”. If I were still teaching high school English, I would point out that “seek” is an action verb. It requires more of us than just being. It requires effort, energy, and a proactive stance that says we decidedly and determinedly reach out from where we are toward something better. Wherever we seek, God is there, patiently waiting for us to seek.
So what is it specifically that we must seek from God in this time of extreme duress? We are seeking his “solace”-–His comfort, His support, His relief. How then, does God console? I can tell you from personal experience that His solace is prevalent in His word, in His world, and through His people. In His goodness, His consistency, and according to His promises, He has provided all the resources you need to progress through despair to deliverance.
And what is the result when you believe in His hope vs. remaining hopeless? When you rely on Him vs. your own efforts? The deeper meaning reiterates His promise: He will transform fear and floundering into faith, fruitfulness, and flourishing.
The results of the process will be worth the cost…of dollars, effort, time, and commitment. It is in the process of navigating grief God’s way that the transformation is made. The process is guided…you don’t have to figure it out. The process is anointed…it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, who participates actively throughout. Your willing participation in the process instills the attitudes, insights, perceptions, thought processes, and ultimately action steps needed to allow grief to enlarge you vs. debilitate you.
It is the only pathway toward experience the wondrous paradox that there is much to be gained from loss.