Joshua 1:9 states, ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.‘
Those are the very words of God, comforting and reassuring. At the end of our trials, we then ask a rhetorical, ‘Who could it be but God.’
I could just imagine, you are in bed or in your thoughts, all curled up, feeling the rush of emotional paralysis through your body. Then drip by drip, you feed from those tear drops, yet you are still thirsty, ‘Grief’s Terrain,’ I called it. Many times we view grief as an occasional monster in our lives, either we live or die but greiving, though painful, plays a vitol role in the process of healing. If we are not faced with uncontrollable situations, then we will forget who controls life and death. If we have never experienced grief or sadness, we could not appreciate the fruit of joy, happiness and deliverance, we would not understand the gift of healing from God. Grieving is the process God uses to bring us to a place of wholeness. As the bible would say in Psalms 147: 3, ‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.‘ The profound meaning of that scripture cannot possibly be understood, if you have not lost all control, if you have never lost hope, if you have never loss a loved one, in short if you have never experienced grief. God’s way of reminding us of who he is and the majesty of his works may sometimes be mind bubbling to us because we hold on tight to that which are tangible as a form of having the idea of control. But then the mystery of God reminds us, he is God and God alone, he giveth and he taketh and all that is done to his Glory, in the fulfillment of his purpose.
Because death is so personal and so untimely and so dramatic and spontaenuous, makes it impossible for anyone to be prepared for the grief to come. Many times we engaged ourselfs in grief’s packaging, that we lose ourselves in that process of shock and denial. It is very important, we seek to speak about our insecurities and our hurt and pain we face after losing something or someone we proclaim as close. Though their are stages of bereavement, it is intricately unique in its design to match every person’ uniqueness and their electric response to death of a loved one. The five stages of bereavement are:
It is hard to accept the unsurities and the non existing time frame of death. It is difficult to not being able to say sorry about the distasteful things you have said or the bonding moments you missed out on or the promises you haven’t got to fulfill or just the thought of not being able to let the person know, ‘I love you.’ This stage allows you time to go through the shock slowly as you deny the event. For all you care, it isn’t real, it is just a dream. At this stage, the reality of it haven’t filtered in as yet, now you have become numb and you wonder why? But though its easier to say this, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,’ Matthew 5:4, it is indeed true. But how do we comfort someone who mourns greatly? How do we comfort the mother of a 6 month old deceased child or the Cousin of a young girl who died too soon? God’s words are stronger than any giant that exists. It is who God is, to hear, is to do it and to do it, is to proclaim it. Though you are in denial because it is apart of the process of grief, don’t allow yourselves to be swaddled in the lies of the devil, to be lost in that denial where it affects you mentally and deprives you of God’s richest gift; Healing. Allow time and God to take you healthily to the next stage depending on your uniqueness.
Anger is said to be the second stage. In this stage you have already started to accept the reality of losing a loved one, you have already started the healing process at the latter part of the denial stage. Anger perpetually extends to persons who embark your individualized circle that you have created. By now you have gotten so angry as the thought of your loss linguers in your head and you start to ask the, ‘What if’s and the why’s and the how’s.’ The thing about anger is that it dissipates as your anger grows daily. Anger suggests strength and can lead to rage if not being treated with love and care. Anger is a way of creating a walk way to your loss, that you may always have access when ever you need. It is a protective cape you wear that seals the thing or individual deep within, so that anyone who tries to ascertain your possession, will be barricaded by your anger. Though it is a healthy stage of bereavement, if you are not careful, it would lead you to external loneliness, as those around you will nolonger want to be faced with your anger. Speak to someone, share your brudens, release your fears and allow yourself to breathe again. Like Ephesians 4:25-27 states, ‘Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speaking truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.’ As neighbors, we are to share our brethrens burdens. As I speak to you, I am speaking also to myself because sometimes, it is within our advice to others, we help our ownselves.
The third stage is bargaining. We say to ourselves, ‘If only I could reverse the time, I would make it right.’ Or, ‘God if you give me back what I have lost, i would serve you endlessly, I would devote myself to your cause.’
The bargains we make, if only we used our emotions less and focus on the principles of loss, easier said than done right?
Sometimes bargaining may seem like a mockery to God but it is one of the several stages of bereavement. It is actually natural. The segment of bargain I don’t favour, is the repititive fault finding questions of yourself, ‘I didn’t spend much time, Why did I not say I love you or tried even harder so he or she may experience the stingless death, death in Christ.’ Or, ‘I could have prevented him or her from going to that place of Sheol.’ At the stage of bargaining, do not reflect too much on the questions that plague your mind. Continue speaking about it to others especially of Godly wisdom, who would know what to say and when to say it according to God’s words. You don’t want to be speaking about your pain, only to hear, ‘it is all your fault.’ Even if it is so, you don’t want to be reminded of that, just as Proverbs 17:27 declares, ‘He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.‘ Speak to people of great Godly wisdom, as you go through the process of healing.
The fourth stage is, Depression. By now your adrenaline is all over the place, causing withdrawal syndromes and post traumatic stress disorders and delayed panick attacks. This stage is infact normal. It is normal for anyone to experience this type of depression when going through a trauma. It is not to be considered a mental issue but rather a reactive reflex to turmoils and uncontrollable, unforseen experiences. We all have experienced some level of depression but we should never feed it with fear but with the antidote of faith. I remember my most traumatic experience and it had caused me to battle with anxiety panick attacks for two years. Through thorough researches and repeated prayers and fasting, I understood that anxiety is fed off fear and so I have developed the notion to say, ‘ Faith is the antidote of fear.’ Once you replace all your fears with faith of God, no foul spirit can linguer, no devil can attack and no diabolical operations can take place. This stage is crucial that you maintain your focus on the words of God and to be reassured that he lives and he heals. Psalms 73:26 says, ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.‘ Can you imagine God being the strength of your troubled heart and the portion of your failures forever? God is a good God, he knows what you are able to bear long before you knew yourselves. He believes in our ability to conform. Why can’t we believe in his supremacy and sovereignty even in the midst of our loss? God is amazing and even in our loss, the spirit of gratitude is needed. Have you ever deeply penetrated the book of Job and observe the many loss he beared yet Job had the spirit of gratitude and blessed God for the God that he is as illustrated in Job 1:21, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.‘
The final stage is Acceptance. Acceptance brings fort closure but you may still be experiencing that loneliness or hurt. At this stage, you understand the reality of your loss and now you have the ability to control your reaction and may be open to an all new perception of bereavement and the lessons you have learnt through it all. Now you will see the fullness of God and his mighty works that whatever may seem impossible to you, is indeed possible to God. Like the bible says in Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.‘ Never phatom the works of God. God makes no mistakes, he allows and he commands and this you may understand, this too shall pass.
Prayer for bereavement:
Lord I humble myself before you. I know I am not worthy o God but I pray you have mercy on me. I place my family members and friends and myself, even those I do not know before you, that you may open your store room of blessings unto us and grant us strength, give us courage to accept the things we cannot control, give us peace o Lord to gracefully and deligently go through what ever process you take us through. Give us the tolerance Lord to love those who may be hurting differently and give us the faith not to fear that which we cannot see. I veto untimely death, I come against accidents, infirmities, fear. I veto the womb of satan, I cast a miscarriage now, destroy the devil’s plan o God and let your will be done. In Jesus Christ name, Amen.