“O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength in time of distress” (Isaiah 33:2).
Grief is most usually associated with death, but it certainly is not limited to only dealing with the passing of a loved one. Many obstacles we face in our lives can cause us heartbreaking suffering: a devastating diagnosis, broken relationships, divorce, loss of a job, “empty nest” when children move out, or loss of home or property, just to name a few. The reasons to feel overwhelming sadness are varied, so are the manners in which we deal with our grief.
How should Christians deal with devastating losses?
It’s okay to cry and be heartbroken. Jesus himself wept at the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11). It’s a natural human response.
In 1 Samuel 30, David learned that his wives and children had been taken hostage by his enemies. David cried until he couldn’t….but found strength in the Lord. Sometimes we cry until we have no tears left, we are left only with the excruciating pain in our hearts. But David found the answer. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32)
It is our Lord God who gives us strength through our tears and helps us deal with the losses of life. He alone can carry us through our distress. Yes, we will be sad, our hearts will break, and we will mourn. However, as Christians, when we run out of tears, feel exhausted, and our strength is gone, thankfully the Lord is there to give peace in spite of our anguish. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).