Accepting the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things we humans have to cope with. Even as Christians who know that a believing spouse or child or parent or friend has gone on to be with the Lord, learning to go on without that person’s earthly presence can be devastating. People who’ve experienced these types of losses need to know that the family of God is with them to help them work through the grieving process and to simply offer a shoulder to cry or lean on.
But there’s another group who often misses out on the support they also desperately need. These are the people who have “lost” a loved one in another sense: divorce. Sometimes a husband or wife leaves a marriage not by death but by choice. When this happens, the pain is much like that of one who has experienced the physical death of a spouse; but coupled with that grief is the knowledge that this mate left of his or her own volition.
And what about the person whose adult child, like my own, suddenly decides to sever his relationship with his parents and entire extended family? The realization that this “loss” was by the child’s own choosing can drain from a parent the very will to live. In other instances it’s the parent who decides to cut the relationship with the child. This, too, can leave the strongest person feeling utterly helpless.
Friends sometimes end relationships for no apparent reason. Someone who has been the closest of friends with another person begins to see her phone calls not being returned and invitations to get together met with lame excuses.
There are many situations where a person has “lost” a loved one without a physical death having occurred. We need to be sensitive to the pain of those who are coping with these types of losses. You probably won’t have to look beyond your immediate circle of co-workers, family and church members to find several people who fit one of the loss categories I’ve mentioned. Take on the servant attitude of Jesus and look for ways to comfort and encourage these people.
Maybe you’re one who has recently experienced a loss. First, surrender your hurt to the Lord. Be honest with Him and tell Him that you don’t understand; that you’re in pain. Ask Him for His peace and trust Him to give it to you. And ask Him as often as you need to – He never tires of His children seeking His comfort. Secondly, ask the Lord to give you a ministry. One of the best ways to heal your own hurts is to become involved in helping someone else.
“…not to be ministered unto, but to minister…” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 20:28, KJV).
“If anyone… sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (I John 3:17, NIV).