Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Anguish of Grief

I say it a lot on Facebook and in my blog posts, but....I am amazed at how God works.  I am blown away by how He guides, directs, and gives purpose.

Several weeks ago, God placed into my heart the idea that we here at The Intentional Journey needed to present a week where some of us share how we have dealt with grief.  I questioned it at first because I really don't want this site to be such a "downer."  And I even brushed it away.  I talked to a few of the authors a little and mentioned the idea, but that was all I did.

But He wouldn't let it go.  It kept popping up into my heart and then into my thoughts.  I still didn't want it, but I didn't want to continue to be disobedient to Him.  So I sent the email out to the authors and I got a response that surprised me.  They were willing and ready to write about it.

I've dealt with a lot of grief in my life and in my blog you will find some of those posts.  I lost a good friend to a car accident, a great-grandmother was called Home, my wife had a miscarriage, and I lost a job which completely turned my world upside down.  I know in my heart that you have too.  You might have experienced the same list.  Perhaps the loved one you lost was a parent or sibling.  Maybe you lost your husband, mother, or dear friend to cancer or some other horrible illness.

The process is not an easy one.  And there seems to always come a time when you fall to your face and sob.  The emptiness that is there at the loss is so huge and so vast that the tears pour out.  The kind of crying that you find yourself barely able to breath.  The reason why you can't breath is because you either simply forgot to or, worse yet, you just don't want to.

You know even Jesus experienced this.  He lost a dear friend in Lazarus.  In John 11:35 (NIV) we read that "Jesus wept."  According to, to weep is "to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears."  He understands what it means to grieve and to cry.  

He also suffered this grief on the night before he died.  Look over at Matthew 26:36-39 (NASB) - "Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said this His disciples, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.'  And he took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.  Then He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.'  And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'"

Many times when we grieve we experience anguish.  Anguish is defined by as "excruciating or acute distress, suffering, or pain."  Now, I'm not sure about you, but for me, sometimes the times I have felt the closest to God are the times when I am face down and suffering this kind of pain.  And it is out of this anguish, that joy is brought to your empty spirit.  The apostle Paul gives this promise in Romans 5:3-5 (NIV) - "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

In recent news, we were told of a car accident that claimed the life of the Rev. David Wilkerson.  I remember my Dad giving me a book titled, "The Cross and the Switchblade."  You may have seen the movie.  Today a friend posted the video below of a message given by this man on anguish.  Perhaps you might think it doesn't apply to grief or to this post.  But I think it does.  Sometimes some of the hardest grief for us to deal with is that which comes from when we surrender our lives to God and He begins to take away the old self and puts on the new.

This week as you read the posts and as you listen to the hearts shared, I hope that you will also realize the truth found in this message.  That out of anguish comes joy.

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