Working Your Way Through the Pain
Bible Reading: Romans 8:26-30
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28
A MONTH after Amy’s dad died, the friends who were so sympathetic at first didn’t seem to care so much anymore. She was still a jumble of emotions when they started saying things like, “It’s time to move on” and even, “Snap out of it!” Amy wondered what was wrong with her that she just couldn’t shake the pain.
What no one told Amy was that when death takes away someone dear, you go through the same emotional process most people go through after tragedy hits. Your grieving can last weeks or months, and people often whirl through five clearly identifiable stages.
One of the first responses to grief is denial. At times you might find yourself unwilling to believe such a terrible thing has really happened to you.
A second stage in responding to grief is anger. You grapple with the inevitable question, “Why did this happen?” And when you discover there is no reasonable answer to that question, you might find yourself lashing out. You might aim your anger at people you think are at least partially responsible, at the person who died, and even at yourself, thinking you are partly to blame.
A third stage of grief is bargaining with God for relief from the awful event and its consequences. You might try to cut a deal with God, vowing to do anything if he would just bring back your loved one or make the pain go away.
Another stage of grief is depression. You realize your loved one is actually gone. You feel overwhelming sadness or hopelessness over the loss. Depression can be accompanied by fear, anxiety, or insecurity about living on without your loved one. Intense loneliness is another side of depression.
The final stage of grief is acceptance. As time goes by and the other stages of grief fade, you start to accept the reality of your loss and deal with it constructively.
Most Christian counselors agree that after the death of a loved one it’s healthy to experience the five stages of grief. Some of your thoughts or emotions might be new to you-or stronger than ever before in your life. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are going through a common response to the very sad event in your life.
Time is one of your best helps in dealing with the death of a loved one. As weeks pass, your sorrow does lessen and your life does feel a little more normal. But time only heals if you don’t expect the pain to go away too soon.
REFLECT: What are those stages of grief all about? Could you use that knowledge to help yourself or a hurting friend?
PRAY: Ask God for help in understanding the swirl of emotions you or your hurting friends face.
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