Coping with Bereavement
by Edmond Ng
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Sarah died ... and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. (Genesis 23:2 NAS)The last few weeks have been difficult as I comfort my wife in her grief over the sudden death of her elder sister to heart attack. Although we know without a doubt that she is now safe in the presence of our Lord, the feelings within remain difficult to contain.
Many of us who have lost our loved ones would know how it feels like to be overwhelmed with sorrow. Although we are aware that death has no victory or sting on those who are in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55), yet we cannot help but feel grieved within. Such feelings are not something we can control or remove just by wishing them to go away. However, if we dwell too deep into feelings of sadness, despair or desperation, we can end up in despondency. We may even become depressed to the point of devastation if we allow our feelings to rule our lives.
Handling bereavement is not something easy because our feelings and memories continue to linger on for days, months and even years. When Sarah died, Abraham mourned and wept for her (Genesis 23:2), and after that he rose from before his dead and did whatever is necessary to ensure a decent burial (Genesis 23:3-20). Abraham then went on to live his life to a ripe old age and God blessed him in every way (Genesis 24:1).
Like Abraham, we may be deeply grieved when we lost someone we loved, and it is understandable for us to mourn and weep. However, we ought to after that rise from our state of sadness and do whatever is necessary to put to a close our sorrow and the sad chapter in our lives. We should then continue to live our lives for Christ our Lord and walk faithful in God.
Rather than dwell in despair, therefore, let us wait in silence for God alone (Psalm 62:1). Let us forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13). For a little while we may be grieved and our hearts may be troubled, but we ought not to dwell too deep in our sorrow, because excessive grieving is not good as it can lead to devastation. As children of God, we need not succumb to devastation or feelings of negativity for in Christ we have been set free, and in Him we have victory (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4).
Just as King David knew when he should grieve and when he should stop grieving over his child’s impending and eventual death (2 Samuel 12:16-23), let us also know when to stop letting our emotions and feelings overwhelm us. If we have a loved one who is critically ill, let us fast and pray, and seek God for mercy. If our loved one departs, however, let us not let our emotions and feelings run wild, otherwise it may overtake us and lead us to despair. We may be hurting within our hearts, yet we must always remember that to all who love God, God causes all things to work together for good according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Let us therefore believe in God and believe also in Jesus, for we who believe in Him shall someday live with our Lord in dwelling places prepared for us (John 14:1-2). In that day, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, and God Himself will live with us, and we shall be His people (Revelation 21:3-4).
Thank You, dear Lord, for always being present with us, especially in time of sorrow. You O Lord know our deepest feelings, our grief and our pain, and You comfort us at our point of need. Do not let our inner feelings overtake us Lord, but strengthen us that we may hold fast to the assurance that to all who love You, all things work together according to Your purpose. Remove our grief Lord and direct our hearts and minds to see beyond the present to look forward to the day when we shall live with You, where there shall be no death, sorrow, crying or pain.
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Edmond, this is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing--and thanks for your comment on my Defragment article..But as for grieving, what you said is great. Hart and I have lost 4 dear friends recently. Our thoughts often go to the many blessed times we had with each of them. One was a close neighbour. Every time I go by her house I feel a pang. But, like your wife's sister, she is now with the angels, and with her Lord, out of pain and sorrow. And soon we shall be together again. And soon your wife will be greeting her loved-one, as we all shall. The Lor's return is not far away...God bless you...Helen