Getting Acquainted with Grief
An Excerpt from Gentle Hugs for Grieving Hearts
Today’s post is an excerpt from our upcoming book Gentle Hugs for Grieving Hearts: A Grief Recovery Study Guide by Julie-Allyson Ieron. The study takes readers on a journey through the Scriptures, focusing on individuals who grieved and received God’s comfort. Grieving hearts, according to Julie, don’t need another guilt trip or another buck-up and deal-with-it teaching. Instead, they need to feel, to experience, and to uncover the truth of God’s faithfulness for themselves.
This excerpt, the introduction to Week 1 of the study, talks about the life-changing effects of a loss in our lives…
Every generation has its “where were you when?” question. When the bombs exploded at Pearl Harbor. When the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon was aflame. When Kennedy (or Martin Luther King, Jr., or Reagan) was shot. When Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary became household words. We ask strangers and friends alike, “Where were you the moment you learned the world changed?” It’s significant, because these moments burn into our psyches and not only change the complexion of the political structure of this planet, but they change us as individual people, from the inside out. Our sense of security crumbles. Our fears of the future rise. Our energies and efforts and goals seem futile. Never do we have such a profound awareness of our smallness as when we’re helpless to hold back a gargantuan tragedy.
What you might have noticed in your generation’s defining moment, though, is that the laws of nature are unchanged, even when towers and vessels and political giants fall. The seasons still change, the birds still sing, the breezes still blow, the butterflies still flutter, the sun still blazes, the stars still twinkle. The created order is unaffected, which seems incongruous with our human experience. Birds should hush; sun and stars should dim. How dare they go on as if nothing were happening?
Grief is like that. All-consuming loss blusters through the calm, serene waters of our lives like the perfect storm. In just a moment it scars our landscape, permanently leaving a broad swath of destruction. Once as secure as a house anchored to bed stone, we find ourselves flattened in the sand or even washed out to sea.
Yet, elsewhere, life goes on. Rarely does our storm play on the evening news in any other locale. Like the rest of nature when towers fall—others around us seem impervious.
We’re alone, getting acquainted with the grief that’s changed us permanently. Who would understand anyway? Who would care enough to get inside our grief and allow our tears to stain their clothing? What first responder would let his own world be endangered by the tornado that picked our households out for destruction while leaving others standing tall?
Actually, Someone did just that. In fact, He let our grief bloody Him. He gave us a slew of assurances that He gets it—He understands how sorrow isolates and debilitates us. He understands, and He cares. Here’s what we’ll see as we begin our dig into the Bible together: The Man of Sorrows gets inside our grief and equips us to live with it.
Gentle Hugs for Grieving Hearts: A Grief Recovery Study Guide, will be available in August on our website. For more encouragement, a pocket-sized, Care & Share™ devotional book, Gentle Hugs for Grieving Hearts, is also available.
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