Question: I am 35, mother of two small children. My husband passed away suddenly last year in June. I have been working through my grief. I have shed many tears and have had many pity parties. However, The Lord always encourages me to keep pressing forward and to live with the knowledge that my husband is with him and that I still need to run this race of faith. I’m also a preacher. Many people think I have not grieved or reached this desperate place of grief. What are your thoughts? Can we as believers mourn, but mourn with the hope and expectation that to live is Christ and to die is gain?
First, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband, but what a blessing that you have the assurance he’s with the Lord.
Your question, “Can we mourn with the hope and expectation that to live is Christ and to die is gain?” Absolutely! In fact, the Bible teaches us that we aren’t to grieve as those who are without hope (1 Thess. 4.13).
About the death of his infant son, David said:
“I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me” (2 Sam. 22-23).
That isn’t to say, that we won’t have times of sadness and loneliness. When we lose someone close to us we may miss them intensely. We may grieve the loss of dreams like growing old with a spouse, or seeing a child grow up and marry. But we can turn to the Lord and find the peace and comfort and security that we need. And if we have a personal relationship with Christ, we know that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter all the time.
You said your friends think you haven’t really grieved. It’s good to take what people say to the Lord and ask, “Lord, is there any truth in what they’ve said?” Maybe they’re right or maybe you just haven’t grieved the way they think you should. Everyone grieves differently. A good book on grieving is Grieving, Hope & Solace by Albert Martin.
Louise, one of the other counselors, was also recently widowed. I asked her what she would share with you from her journey.
She said it’s so important to remember Romans 8.28-29 and how God intends to use everything in our lives for good, to help us be conformed to the image of His Son. And while the grieve and sadness is natural, it can easily cross over into anger and self-pity. When it does, we need to remember that our hearts are being squeezed so that those things that are not like Christ can be revealed and so we can grow and change.
She said, for her, it’s been a time of “getting her personal house in order” and of asking, “What in my life doesn’t line up with God’s Word?” It has made her realize that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. A good prayer would be to pray Psalm 139.23-24:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
I once heard someone say that we should be a good steward of our trials. I’ll be praying that you find an abundance of peace and comfort, but also, that you’ll be able to get every bit of good out of what is a very difficult situation.
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