Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grieving That Heals

I'm struck by the power of grief. When we experience loss, great or small, we grieve. We feel grief in the death of a loved one, the onset of a chronic illness, the loss of a job, divorce, domestic violence, retirement, financial stress but also in changing our residence, in losing our keys, in the greying of our hair or a child going off to college.

But what I've come to discover in reflecting on 1 Thessalonians 4:13 is the power of grief isn't so much in the what as in the how. I wonder if grief's hold upon us isn't as much in the depth of the loss, as great as that might be, as in the path we take in grieving.

I've long known people grieve differently. Some readily shed tears and talk with others about their loss, some grieve quietly and privately. But the stakes are high for discerning how to grieve. I found John James' and Frank Cherry's book on grief recovery helpful. I'm grateful also to Bill Hybels for introducing me to the fruit of this passage for challenging our assumptions about how to grieve.

If we take society's pathway for grieving--and most of us do--our grieving leads to despair. If we take God's pathway for grieving, our journey leads to healing.
For more on how to grieve in a way that heals watch this sermon video from last Sunday called Healing: Grieving That Heals