Grief has a way of leveling us all onto the same playing field.
And while the waves of grief are often intense and can cause us to doubt the goodness of God – it’s crucial to hold fast to the hope you have in Christ even in midst of the storm.
But are you not sure where to even begin to deal with your grief? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Stage 1 of Grief: Denial
When something tragic happens – our human minds go into self-protective mode to deny what is happening.
Some say that without denial – the intensity of the situation would paralyze us.
While it’s important to work through the process – make sure you don’t stay in denial.
Ask God for help in discernment to understand what is happening – and the strength to do the “next right thing.”
The enemy will try to cause people to doubt the goodness of God – but as Christians it is critical to know that even when tragedy strikes – God is still sovereign.
Stage 2 of Grief: Anger
Anger enables people to “cope” with what they are experiencing.
Whether it’s anger towards the drunk driver who killed a loved one or the doctor for not being able to cure cancer.
Sometimes the anger is even directed at God for “allowing” something to happen.
But the truth is – anger is not the root emotion – it’s often covering up for a deeper feeling of sorrow, emotional pain, or even bitterness.
During this stage it’s important not to make any major decisions – instead spend extra time with God journaling or lamenting on what you’re experiencing and ask Him to heal your heart.
Stage 3 of Grief: Bargaining
When we are powerless or helpless to stop something bad from happening or right a wrong in our lives – we can often try to bargain with others or even God.
For those who subscribe to a works-based religion – often the bargaining includes promising to do “more good things” or “go to church more.”
While it’s natural to want to make whatever is hurting you stop – ask God to teach you how to cling to Him in this difficult season.
When you come out the other side of whatever you are experiencing (and you will) – your faith and trust in Him will be rock-solid.
Stage 4 of Grief: Depression
Some describe this as the most painful stage.
You’ve understood what has happened is done – and you are powerless to change it.
Whether it’s the death of a loved one – or the loss of a close relationship – many people tend to become overcome with sorrow – and stay there.
The danger in this stage is when your grief is isolating yourself from your community – or you’re turning to other things to “ease” your pain such as drinking, food, or shopping.
It’s okay to feel sad when you’ve experienced loss – but instead of seeking to heal your internal pain through external measures – cry out and lament to God.
Remember this world is only temporary – and one day God will dry every tear and make all things right.
Hold onto your hope in Him – and don’t let go.
Stage 5 of Grief: Acceptance
Accepting something that’s happened doesn’t mean you like it – or that it doesn’t still hurt.
You may still continue to cycle through the stages of grief again – having good days and bad days.
Be gentle with yourself and make sure to reach out to your community for support. And don’t be ashamed to seek a Christian counselor if you need a bit of extra help during a painful season.
In addition, consider reading stories of others who have overcome significant loss and learned how to use their pain for a purpose and glorify God.
But most important – read your Bible and cling to the promises of God. By knowing His character and remembering He is good – you can navigate through your season of grief without losing your faith.
How have you turned to God in your own life during a season of grief?
Which stage of grief is hardest for you?
You can post your answers to our Facebook page and join in the conversation with other believers from all around the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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