March 19, 2012
Over the weekend, we talked about joy and the ability to rejoice in all circumstances. Well, in this world, sad things do happen. So some of you might be wondering, “How do I experience joy with a thankful attitude when sad or even evil events happen?” Well, it is possible to rejoice and mourn at the same time.
You see, when my daughter went off to college, excitement, joy, sadness and fear were just a part of the complex cocktail of emotions I experienced. Since we are multifaceted beings who wear many hats, every experience will evoke a number of emotions in us, and some of those feelings will contradict each other. 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, excitement and exuberant expectation.
Losing a loved one or experiencing abuse are two of the most difficult situations in which to experience any positive feelings or thankfulness. When God places people alongside us to help us mourn and to keep us connected to Him while Satan is trying to isolate and destroy us, those angels are definitely worthy of thanksgiving. 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 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 need to listen for Satan’s lies and gently bring them back to the truth. 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, to be His tangible hands and audible voice – to share His love and compassion. God will work through you to show them they have value and dignity in His eyes.
They know we cannot perform miracles, take away their loss or make the pain go away. They are just looking for connection … to walk the path with someone … to be shown hope and dignity … to be comforted and held when they feel they can’t function independently in this season of 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? How will you reveal Him to them? Take action and make that phone call. Invite God to work through you. Be Lighthouse to another. Your decision, choose well.
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. Help me guard their heart from Satan and point them back to You. 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 us and with us, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
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!“John 11:34-36