Grief is an experience that one out of every one person will face.  Unfortunately, the more people we love the more times we will experience significant grief.  In the midst of the pain we often ask “To love or not to love?” and are tempted to consider not loving as the better option.

Robert Kellemen has written an excellent book to guide us through this difficult (and often repetitive) season of life.  The quality is good enough to warrant an endorsement from Grief Share.  There are three aspects of the book that I would like to highlight in this post.

First, the book is short (only 111 pages total).  In the midst of grief concentration is difficult and processing anything is hard.  A grieving person could pick up this book and not feel intimidated.  That is important.  There are more ways to display an understanding of one’s audience than cleverly articulating penetrating insight.  Dr. Kellemen reveals his compassionate heart for grieving people by writing a book that is accessible to them in the midst of their pain.

Second, this book offers biblical markers for the journey through grief rooted in a well-developed theology of suffering.  While aware of Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), Dr. Kellemen does not operate strictly within this paradigm.  He offers eight stages rather than five.

  • From Denial to Candor: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
  • From Anger to Complaint: A Lament for Your Loss
  • From Bargaining to Crying Out to God: I Surrender All
  • From Depression to Comfort: God Comes
  • From Regrouping to Waiting: When God Says “Not Yet”
  • From Deadening to Wailing: Pregnant with Hope
  • From Despairing to Weaving: Spiritual Mathematics
  • From Digging Cisterns to Worshipping: Finding God

Where as Kubler-Ross lumps acceptance into one-big-stage, Dr. Kellemen divides it into four more manageable experiences.

Third, the book is very personal.  Not “in your business” personal, but “walking with you” personal.  It contains the story of Dr. Kellemen’s own experiences with grief and the testimony of many others.  More than this, he invites you into the book with guided reflection embedded into the book.  If you take the time to reflect and write as you read you will have more than practical, biblical information when you finish the book.  You will have a travelogue of your journey though grief that can serve as a precious memento of your loved one and an encouraging refuge during those times when the pain of grief returns (holiday, birthdays, and other special occasions).

In closing, I would agree with the words of Garrett Higbee (President of Twelve Stones Ministries and Executive Director of Harvest Bible Soul Care), “God’s Healing for Life’s Losses takes on traditional thoughts about grief and loss and turns them upside down. There is refreshing honesty about the pain of loss and the permission to be real with God and others as we embrace the mourning process together. This book is biblical, personal, and healing; I highly recommend it.”