Today, we continue our series Pray A to Z, and G is for Grieving. If you’ve missed a few posts, you can get caught up on the series here. If you don’t have your printable prayer cards yet, you may download them for free, here.
It’s quite appropriate with all that’s happening in Canada that today’s post is about grief. As you pray today, please include our northern neighbors who are grieving this tragedy, and are dealing with so many emotions right now.
This past weekend, our pastor taught on grief – how we need to grieve, but also how we shouldn’t stay stuck there. As he reminded us, grief may come at times other than death of a person, but as we lose dreams, relationships, and other things. You can watch the sermon here. (It’s well worth the 40 minutes, I promise!)
Today, Susie Finkbeiner shares with us about the need for grief, and the hope we have in the midst of it. Susie has also written a beautiful novel that deals with grieving. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post for a digital version of her book, My Mother’s Chamomile.
The end of the story goes like this: Jesus comes into the bedroom, takes the hand of the young and lifeless girl, and says, “Daughter, wake up”.
We like to think on that part. We speed past the frantic father, rushing to Jesus to have Him heal his ill daughter. We skim past the messenger coming to say that the girl had died. We don’t sit with the father in his grief.
Because we know how it ends. The story has a good conclusion. Everyone is happy. The wailing women go home. The little girl eats lunch and, we hope, goes on to enjoy a full life.
We try to forget or ignore or skip past the devastated father because his loss terrifies us. Part of us fears the possibility that his grief will become ours one day.
“But his daughter was fine,” we say. “The story had a happy ending.”
Grief is uncomfortable. It’s full of negative emotions we’d rather do without. It means that we have lost someone or something dear to us. Our temptation is to put a flimsy bandage over the pain of loss, hoping that, if we don’t see it, it will somehow disappear.
That isn’t how grief works.
Throughout my life, I’ve experienced several losses. Loved ones passing away, jobs ending before I wanted them to, the death of key relationships. While each time of grieving was different, I have learned one thing. Grief must be felt. It must be acknowledged. Otherwise the healing process is much more difficult and painful.
If we stuff the emotions down, or expect someone else to do so in their season of grief, all we do is start a festering wound that will only become more and more harmful the longer we conceal it.
The Scriptures are full of rich lament from those in the middle of mourning. In my life, I have echoed the Psalmist, the Prophet, and even Jesus.
“How long, Oh Lord will You remain silent?”
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother/sister/friend would not be dead.”
“Father, why have You forsaken me?”
Each of us will experience grief in our lives. We will walk alongside loved ones as they struggle with losses of many different kinds. Lament very well may be the language in which we pray through those times.
Several years ago, a childhood friend went missing. A week later her body was found. She had been murdered. At first, I struggled with disbelief. That kind of thing didn’t happen to people I knew. It was too horrible to acknowledge. She was such a sweet girl. She never hurt anyone. Never. How could that have happened?
I remember crying out in lament to God. I asked “why” so many times. I even questioned why God hadn’t intervened.
At the funeral, my friend’s younger brother pulled out a jar she’d given him. Inside were handwritten notes of encouragement just for him. A treasure he would have for the rest of his life. A reminder of the love she had for him.
I’m reminded that God has a jar, too. An emblem of His love for us. In His jar are all of our tears. He collects them, keeping an account of all our sorrows. He listens to our cries, for our grief and the grief of those we care for.
He mourns right alongside us.
He comes to us in the dark night of despair, takes our hand and whispers, “Daughter. Son. Beloved child of mine. Wake up. There is joy in the morning.”
Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. Her novels PAINT CHIPS and MY MOTHER’S CHAMOMILE are both available from WhiteFire Publishing. Her third novel CUP OF DUST will release with Kregel Publications in fall 2015.
Susie is a wife, mother of three, and an avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her close friends, and quiet moments to read and write.
Facebook: Author Susie Finkbeiner
Take out your G card:
- Write down names of people who have lost family or friends to death in the past year.
- Write down names of those who’ve lost marriages, homes, businesses, health, or other significant relationships.
- Pray that your community would be one that wraps its arms around the grieving, and offers words of hope that heal and help rather than adding to the burden.
- Ask God to show you practical ways you can serve the people on your prayer card.
Susie is giving away a digital copy of her latest novel, My Mother’s Chamomile.
This beautiful novel follows the journey of a family who serves their community during times of grief, and how the community responds when this family suffers a loss of their own. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below! Winners will be drawn next week Monday October 27.
a Rafflecopter giveaway