Have you ever wondered why there has not been any books, or even much talk on the topic of grief until very recently? Grief is a hard topic to speak or write about. But why? We all have hard circumstances that cause grief. I think that is why it is so hard to speak and write on this topic. We all have grief, we all handle grief in slightly different ways, and as soon as we hear of others grief we immediately start to compare each person's grief. Let me start there. Especially when you are going through your grief, do not compare it to someone else’s grief. Your grief is your grief, and your suffering is your suffering. While it is good to keep your situation in perspective, it is still something that causes you grief. But how can we handle grief? Is there a biblical way? In my reading of Scripture, I see a general process that we find to handle our grief in a biblical way. We are going to look at this topic from the story of Job.
In the Scriptures, there are many examples of people experiencing grief. In my opinion, Job is the best and most exhaustive account of someone handling strong suffering. So if there is a biblical way to grieve, we will see it in Job. Here is a very quick explanation of the book of Job. There was a man named Job who had everything you could want for the time. God said that there was no one on the earth like Job. With the permission of God, knowing that Job would stay faithful to Him, Satan would inflict several evils on Job, his family, and his land. He lost all of his children, lost his animals, lost his land, and ultimately his health. All throughout these circumstances people rebuked him, including his wife. Regardless of the evil and isolation that Job experienced he never recanted his faith.
What can we see in this book to help us in times of grief? As soon as everything happens, Job praises God for everything he had. Even though he literally lost everything, he still knew and recognized that everything he had and what little he still had was a gift from God. Let that be our first step. Focus on the faithfulness of God. Now I know that this is easier said than done. And to be honest, until recently, I was not a great example of focusing on God’s faithfulness. It requires more than a little work. Always remind yourself of how faithful God has been both in your life and in the Scriptures. When we focus on how God has been faithful in the past, it will fill us with confidence that God is faithful now, and will continue to be faithful in the future.
But even if we are confident that God is faithful, the question still remains: Why is this happening? This is the next thing we see in Job’s story. When his friends come to him and start to talk, Job defends both his faithfulness to God and God’s faithfulness to him. In the middle of the questions and speeches, there is a point where Job has had enough and rebukes his friends. Job defends God even in the midst of asking God why this is happening. Job knew that God was faithful, but the question was still there. The point is this: It is okay to ask God questions. If you do not know, or can’t see where God is moving in your suffering and grief, just ask. God hears the prayers, the pleas, the anger, the praise, and the questions of His people. Ask questions with the frame of mind that God is faithful.
The last thing we see in Job’s story is that God answers and restores His people. After everyone is done talking, it is God’s turn. For three straight chapters we have God’s response. The most interesting thing in the response is that there is little talk about Job and his situation. God’s response focuses on God’s greatness, power, and sovereignty. God will speak, we just have to be ready to listen. Open the Bible, read, study, and ask questions. At the very end of Job, we see that God restores everything that Job lost, plus some. Now while not every situation that we are grieving will be fully restored here on earth, we are promised that all things will be restored in the end.
Many, if not all of you reading this know that Kari is pregnant. We are excited to bring this child into the world, but there was supposed to be another. We were supposed to have twins. It was heartbreaking to hear the news that we lost one of our kids. Using the biblical process to grieve made the suffering and grieving better, and I believe godly. We looked back and saw where God was faithful, and that filled us with confidence that God is faithful now. We asked the questions, all the questions. But ultimately God spoke and so far, we are going to welcome a baby girl this January. Take heart Church, God is there, He knows you are suffering. Try the process and watch God do amazing things.
If you have any questions please let me know. There was a lot more I wanted to say. So I would be happy to go through Job with you. I would be happy to talk you through your suffering and grief. I would be happy to help you in any way that I can.
Written by Michael Chadwick