“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 7:11 NIV)
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:19-23 NIV)
What is grief? At its core, it is a sense of loss of something or someone we either possessed or hoped to possess. We feel loss and grief when a loved one or friend dies. We also feel loss when a relationship ends, or we lose a job, or we move far from home, or a dream dies. Someone else’s loss, or someone else’s suffering causes grief too – like the stories we see unfolding in Ukraine and Afghanistan right now.
What do we do with these feelings? Jeremiah experienced incredible grief and wrote, “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city,” (Lamentations 2:11). Jerusalem was under siege, people were starving and the city was being destroyed and then its people were exiled for 70 years. Jeremiah told us he was pouring out his heart. When we feel grief, we need to express it, we need to lament, we need to cry, we need to pour out our heart and soul to God and express our pain.
What do I do when it feels like I am all alone and I can’t feel God’s presence? Imagine going into an interior room in the basement, with the light off. All you can see is darkness. The sun is shining outside, but where you are – you can’t see it or feel it. Award-winning author, Pastor Paul David Tripp says, “Grief blocks our ability to see God, but I should not conclude that means He is absent.”. When we can’t feel God’s presence, because of loss, Psalm 143:7-8 tells us what to d,. “Answer me quickly, LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” In our loss, we trust that God is still there, we pray – telling Him all of our emotions, and we read His word and remind ourselves of His love, of His presence, of His continued working in our lives.
If you are in a season of grief and loss, spend time reading and praying in Psalms. Also, South is offering a support group called GriefShare starting April 11, 2022.