Living With Loss Archives 2015

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  • To My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Who Are Grieving...and Those Who Love Them By Lance Cordle 
  • The Defeat of the Last Enemy by Dan Jenkins   
  • Rachel Weeping for Her Children by Larry Walker
  • Quotes From Those in Grief                



To My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Who Are Grieving . . . and Those Who Love Them

By Lance Cordle
Another year’s passing has involved the death of people we dearly love. The season recognized by our culture as the “holidays” and a time of joy and laughter will be difficult because of the death of someone we love. I want you to be able to live in this time, as you do in other times of the year—with information that will help you to live a life of meaning and purpose. With that goal in mind, please consider the following words.

To my brothers and sisters who are grieving:
Trust — God has never promised that we would not have pain. We may be angry with him; we may even doubt things about him, but eventually we will have to trust—let that trust be in God (Proverbs 3:5, 6). Talk to him about your feelings — the negative ones (disappointment, sadness, and yes, anger). Also, trust someone who is a proven friend (Proverbs 17:17) and talk to them as well.
Grieve — The pain you feel as a result of loss is as inevitable (and as real) as the bruises and lacerations suffered in a bodily injury. You would not quickly recover from a serious bodily injury, nor would we expect you to. Cry when and where you must, without embarrassment. The tears you shed and the sighs you heave are as natural as blood from a physical wound. We would expect changes in you as a result of such an injury, therefore we will not expect you to be the same after a severe wound to your heart. Try to resist the urge to physically medicate — It only puts off the inevitable facing of reality. (By the way, you are NOT going crazy.)
Live — Adjustments will have to be made in a life that was once intertwined with another. Time will be needed to make those adjustments, but time itself will not make them, nor will it heal (as so many mistakenly believe and say). When living, do things at your pace, and at the depth of involvement you can stand, not at the expectations of other people. Appreciate the life and love of the person you are mourning, but seek to come to terms with the reality of their death.

To those who love someone who is grieving:
Be Aware—If you are a spouse or best friend of the one grieving, you hold one of the keys to their adjustment—you can (and will) help or hinder. You must be prepared to “walk” beside them (mostly quietly) as they make the journey. Pray to God and seek good information for your task.
Be There—Be helpful, but don’t hover; encourage, but don’t force. Your presence can be made known by cards and notes as well. Be ready to listen, but don’t talk too soon or too much (Job 2:13; 16:2). 




The Defeat of the Last Enemy

by Dan Jenkins 


It was forty-four years ago that I walked away from the grave of my father, and two years later, I stood at that same gravesite when my mother’s body was laid to rest beside him. I doubt there has been a single day that has passed since then that I have not thought of them. I remember the emotions which flooded my soul as I walked away.

I had those same emotions almost three years ago when I walked away from the grave of the most amazing brother any person could ever imagine having. I am positive that not a single day has passed without me thinking of Jerry Jenkins. He was and is, and always will be, my hero and the one whose footprints I have followed. As I write this, my heart aches as I think of how much I miss him.

The emotions I have experienced at those three graves begin with emptiness in my soul and cavernous holes in my heart. I walked away wondering how I could ever repay the debt I owe them for the eternal impact they have on me. I walked away determined to take every godly trait I saw in them and to the very best of my ability mirror those traits in my life.

Yet there was, and is, an even greater emotion which I carried from those dark hours, and that is the absolute assurance that I will see them again someday. So many times over the years I left their presence and would say, “I will see you later.” It always happened. I would leave, and then later we would be together again. As I walked from those gravesites my thoughts were, “I will see you later!” Oh, the blessedness of such thoughts! Oh, the debt I owe to their righteous lives for leaving me the assurance that I will see them, later!

The grim reaper comes to all, but how blessed we are that his appearance is overshadowed by the One who, by His own resurrection, opens the graves of those who are no longer with us. He not only opened the graves, but by faith we know He has gone to prepare a place for the saints. When He returns He will bring with Him those very saints and eternally we shall all be together. This is not a fairy tale. It is not a fond wish. By faith it is an absolute truth! The reality is that the grim reaper is a blessing. He opens the door to that for which we have all lived. Godly people leave behind a world cursed by sin and enter into a paradise with the redeemed.

When that last trumpet sounds there will be the ultimate defeat of the last enemy. “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” So when the trumpet sounds we shall be raised. No longer mortal and corruptible, but incorruptible and immortal. At that time the words will be fulfilled, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Lord, hasten that day!




Rachel Weeping For Her Children

"In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." (Matthew 2:18)

After Jesus was born, King Herod's fear of the baby called "the King of the Jews" led him — in a fit of selfish rage — to slaughter all the male children 2 years and under. As Matthew writes about it, he was moved by the great grief and mourning in Judea, and he reached back to the time of Jeremiah, where parents grieved for their children who were taken away from them by the Babylonian king.

This has come home to us in the last few days as we hear the news from Connecticut about the horror of another shooting, and all the tragic aftermath. These were senseless and devilish, evil deeds — far beyond our day-to-day barrage of selfish acts, foolish indulgences, and careless injustices. Not since 9/11 have Americans been so gripped with sorrow and grief and anger. Among us here at Calvary Hill, we have so many teachers, principals, and students, so many parents and grandparents. They all hurt because of this. And the families directly affected — God help them all in his mercy and love.

Instinctively, when such tragedies strike, men turn to God in prayer, and reach for one another, sharing the deepest and truest and most God-like features within us. There are no human words that can really comfort those who lost loved ones, and no explanations that do not sound shallow and empty. The only thing we CAN do is be quiet and hold one another, and grieve and pray.

But what a blessing if we could turn to the God of all comfort and hope! If we could hear HIS words in such times! Matthew tells us that in the very days when the Father was unfolding his plan by sending the Savior into the world, for the drawing and cleansing of men from their own evil ways — while the majestic Son of the Almighty God was still an infant — at that very time, other precious, innocent children suffered at the hands of the enemies of righteousness and mercy. The reason that Matthew recalls the passage from Jeremiah is because of God's promise there to hear the cries and sorrows, and to restore and heal his people, and to be the caretaker of their little ones.

Let us take it from His Word that there is much more than we can see or understand or explain in this tragic, broken world. Let us hold fast what we have confessed — that He lives, that He stands above it all, watching and providing, even though we cannot trace His ways.

Let us hold without wavering that He is the God of all love and mercy and right and good. That He loves and holds innocent children in his hands. Of such is the kingdom of heaven. Though they may be taken from us and from this world, they cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Let this tragedy make us more compassionate and humble, less complaining about our inconveniences, more patient in our own trials, more tuned to the grief of others, more selfless in bearing their burdens, and more concerned for the health of their souls.

Last night I heard Robbie, the father of one of the children speak. It was absolutely stunning. It humbled me. He spoke first to offer comfort for the families of the other victims, AND for the family of the shooter. He spoke words of grace and forgiveness and dignity, even while he could not hold back his tears. Robbie rejoiced about his little daughter's beautiful life, her sweet character, and her good heart. He said her goodness and character were not due to himself and his wife, but were the gifts of "our heavenly Father". When asked why he was not angry toward the killer [and I have to confess that I have been], he explained how the young man abused the freedom God gave him, and chose to inflict pain and suffering. Robbie emphasized that he just wanted to use the freedom God gave him to console and heal and be a comfort and strength for others.

I do not know any specifics about Robbie's religious affiliations. But we can be sure that this man was touched by the influence of Jesus Christ and his cross. No philosopher, no politician, no king, no religious leader outside of Jesus Christ ever THOUGHT of forgiveness and mercy and love and grace in this way. It only comes from the God of the Bible, and it was written across all time and space in the cross of Christ. We should all kneel down there and through our tears of grief join with him, take our part with Him! (Colossians 1:24ff.)

Then we can go to the throne of grace, and there give honor and glory to the one who planned and unfolded it all, and ask Him confidently. We will find mercy and grace to help us in this time of need, and we will be ready to take, alongside our Lord, our own share of suffering in this world for the sake of his people and his cause.



Quotes From Those in Grief

Grief turns out to be a place where none of us know until we reach it.

The only difference is I'm getting use to the pain. It's like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget it's there and you keep falling in. After a while, it's still there, but you learn to walk around it. -Rachel Joyce

There are moments that mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts - before this and after this.

When grieving, we can be going along and everything seems to be okay, then out of nowhere grief hits full force. These are not setbacks, they are part of the whole grieving process.

It's hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.

Where grief is fresh, any attempts to divert it only irritates.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”     ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

November 2017