Step Five: MOURN the wrongness of what happened and receive God’s comfort.
Below is a video from the “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” seminar of The Summit Church (Durham, NC). For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.
NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).
“I am willing to agree with God emotionally about my loss. I can see that God does not just want me to ‘get over this’ but to ‘love me through my loss.’ [describe difference] I will accept that ‘blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt 5:4)’ as expressed by God’s loving me personally through this group. Mourning my suffering with God and this group has changed me [describe].”
Memorize: Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 (ESV), “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting for this is the end of all mankind and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “Better” – Mourning is better because it fits the occasion (Eccl. 3:1-8) and honors the good gift from God you lost.
- “Feasting… laughter” – This passage does not condemn feasting and laughing (Eccl. 7:14).
- “House of mourning” – Mourning always hits “home” because it is always linked to things that we love.
- “The end… lay it to heart” – Mourning is a time we remember that we were not ultimately made for this world.
- “By sadness… made glad” – The sadness of grief is not minimized, but is seen as the pathway to honest, lasting joy.
“Death is the enemy of everything good and beautiful about life. Death should make you morally sad and righteously angry… It is biblical to treat death as the sad, unnatural thing it actually is (p. 4)… In times of death, Christians should be sadder than anyone else. We know how sin brought death into the world. We mourn not only for the loved one we have lost, but also for the fact that death continues to destroy… God doesn’t call you to stifle your grief when you are crushed. He doesn’t expect you to hide behind religious clichés and theological platitudes. God approves your tears (p. 8)!” Paul Tripp in Grief: Finding Hope Again
“[Referencing John 11:35] If you knew you were about to turn everything around, would you be drawn down into grief, entering into the trauma and pain of their hearts? Why would Jesus do that? Because he is perfect. He is perfect love. He will not close his heart even for ten minutes (p. 4).” Tim Keller in “Truth, Tears, Anger, and Grace” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Fall 2001).
“We all need to learn to say goodbye, acknowledge the pain that is there for us so we can eventually move on to another hello. When we learn to say goodbye we truly learn how to say to ourselves and to others: Go. God be with you. I entrust you to God. The God of strength, courage, comfort, hope, love is with you. The God who promises to wipe away all tears will hold you close and will fill your emptiness. Let go and be free to move on. Do not keep yourself from another step in your homeward journey. May the blessing of our God be with you (p. 7-8).” Joyce Rupp in Praying Our Goodbyes.
“And so it is in our sadness that we discover a new aspect of God’s character and reach a new understanding of Him that we could not have known without loss. He is acquainted with grief. He understands. He’s not trying to rush us through our sadness. He’s sad with us (p. 51).” Nancy Guthrie in Holding on to Hope.