by Rex Yancey

How to Deal with Grief
Rex Yancey
John 11:32-35

The Bible is filled with obituaries. The most difficult experience for a person to go through is the loss of a loved one. This was true of Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus died. It was also true of Jesus who was a frequent guest in their home. The shortest verse in the Bible says, "Jesus wept." He understood from a personal perspective the depths of their grief.

No newspaper has ever omitted the obituary page. I had one senior adult church member who told me she would awaken in the morning and look in the obituary page of the paper and if her name was not in it she would turn over and go back to sleep.

I want us to think about the reality of grief. We can grieve over many things. However, we often associate grief with the loss of someone close to us. Grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one. Delayed grief according to D. P. Brooks remains until one has worked through it. Pushed out of the conscious mind, grief makes trouble for both body and mind.

The intensity of grief is determined by a number of factors. A death that is caused by accident or a fatal heart attack strikes loved ones and friends with a devastating force. I know from a forty year ministry that usually those who lose a loved one unexpectedly take longer to recover than those who lose a loved one through a prolonged illness.

Another factor that influences the intensity of grief is the age factor. Losing a grandparent or parent is easier to accept than the loss of a child. No adults, regardless of their age, expect to outlive their children. The loss of an adult is tempered by the fact of longevity; however, the loss of a child is affected by the fact that the child will never be able to grow up.

Grief usually goes through certain well defined stages. First there is shock and unbelief. It is like one is having a bad dream. One hopes the bad dream will end and the one lost will return to lif ...

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