Yesterday, we talked about joy and being able to rejoice in all things. Well, in this world, sad things do happen. So some of you might be wondering, how then do I experience joy with a thankful attitude when sad things happen? Well, it is possible to rejoice and mourn at the same time. When my daughter went off to college, excitement, joy, sadness and fear were part of the complex mix I experienced. Since we are multifaceted beings who wear many hats, every experience will evoke a number of emotions, some being contradictory.
I know that when it is time to give each of my 3 daughters in marriage, a flood of feelings will flow in me. They will run the spectrum from fear, sadness, and jealousy, to happiness, pride, and exuberant expectation.
Over the last few years I have lost three close family members. I am so thankful for the people God placed alongside me at those times to mourn with me. They truly seemed like angels standing with me. They helped me rejoice in the big picture of God’s plan even though that small chapter had a strong dose of sadness.
Perhaps you sense God calling you to minister to people who have suffered the loss of a loved one by death. But how? So often we feel helpless and just don’t know what to say. We might even avoid contact with the bereaved person because we are afraid we might say or do the wrong thing.
Before entering this area of ministry, we must recognize that authenticity is essential. We dare not play charades or project false images or unrealistic hopes to the newly bereaved person. We should do some reading; perhaps talk to a pastor about the phases involved in the process of grieving … not to put the grieving person into a mold, but to better understand some of the stages that most people experience.
It is important to remember that ministering to a grieving person involves listening more than helping. We cannot tell them what to do … we cannot fix their problem. But we can be with them. Our presence is more important than words. God calls us to come alongside and mourn with them.
They know we cannot perform miracles and take away their loss or make the pain go away. They are just looking for connection … to not have to walk the path alone … to have someone to show them hope and dignity … to comfort and hold them when they feel they can’t function independently in this season of their life.
Today, reflect on how you handle the loss of a loved one. What would you want? Has God put a grieving person in your life to reveal Himself to them through you? Take action and make that phone call. Invite God to work through you to be Lighthouse to another.
Dear Father God, Teach me to help those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. My tendency is to try and “fix” the problem when someone is hurting. Help me remember that I can’t fix the problem … can’t speak the right words that will make everything better. But I can be there. I can listen. I can pray. I can be your vehicle of love and compassion. I can mourn with them. May the love and compassion of Jesus flow through me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who mourns for and with us, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”