Grief is the complex and painful process of dealing with the losses we encounter throughout our lives. Implicit in God’s invitation to live and enjoy relationships with others is the knowledge that we may one day grieve their loss; few areas of life are immune. Either through varying circumstances or, ultimately, our own death, eventually we lose everything.
One of the basic realities of grief is that the circumstances of our relationships—family, friend, close, estranged, loving or otherwise—impact the depth, length, and even the way we experience sorrow over what we have lost.
Everyone’s grief is different.
While grief is a journey common to all, no one can tell you exactly how you should grieve because it is a personal path unique to everyone who walks it. And there’s no single right way to grieve. However, understanding how grief works and what influences it will better prepare you for what you encounter after a loss.
Grief exposes faith.
One of the great ironies of life is that whether or not you consider yourself religious, grief reveals the element of faith in everyone. It shows where you place your trust when faced with the reality of loss—and that’s faith.
The Bible reveals a pathway through times of loss that leads to higher ground. This experience, which often feels like death, is the perilous path through the “valley of the shadow” that David spoke of in Psalm 23:4. This favorite psalm reminds us, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” The Good Shepherd reliably guides us through the valley of tears. He quiets our fears, comforts our hearts, and reassures us that we will make it through; though at times we may not be so sure.
While grief is unavoidable and complicated by the variety of relationships and circumstances in life, eventually every griever wonders, “Will life ever be better? Will the pain ever go away? Will I make it through this?”