Surviving the Loss

In my previous post, I shared on how to deal with grief which is a predictable response to the loss of a friend or even a priced possession.

Many people have “snapped” and ended up doing much damage to others and their own selves, because grief can make people say, do and think irrational things.

There is a misguided belief that I’ve encountered – and I think it’s rooted in ignorance – that a Christian who dies from an accident, sickness or natural disaster must have lacked faith in God or His approval to have so died. This is a myopic thinking.

The Bible indicates that accidents can happen to anyone at anytime (Eccl. 9:11). As Wayne Grudem points out in his work, Bible Doctrine, death is a reality, whether for Christians or non-Christians; it doesn’t mean that it’s a penalty for their individual sin.

We live in a fallen world and we all experience injuries, ageing, and natural disasters (floods, violent storms and earthquakes). Although God does answers prayers to deliver Christians (and also non-Christians) from some of these effects of the Fall for a time, nevertheless, Christians eventually experience these things.

Our salvation doesn’t make us immune to illness, ageing or physical death. Death which is “the last enemy” is not yet destroyed (1Cor 15:26). Until then, all of humanity is still subject to it.

While the world’s highest goal is preserving one’s own physical life at all costs, for a Christian, obedience to God and faithfulness to Him even in death is our greatest goal (Phil. 1:20, Rev. 12:11).

One of my friends, Wale, who lost his mother to cancer said to me, “Even though she died at the time she was supposed to enjoy the fruit of her labour on us, I’m somewhat relieved that she is no more in pain. And I’m glad that she accepted Christ as her Lord. She prayed for each one of us before her death.”

For a Christian, death is not the end, it is only an exit door to be with God in eternal glory. Drawing spiritual strength from Christ during a loss is also vital because you are more vulnerable to superstitions, hallucinations and false beliefs at that period.

Some people claim to see or hear the deceased – in dream or reality – and from there conclude that the dead do protect the living.

Many cultures actually perform various rites to honour the dead, and in some cases, supposedly invoke “their spirits” to avenge their death.

I saw a video clip of a bereaved young lady talking to her father’s remains: “Father take care of us as if you are alive … rest but don’t forget us and don’t sleep, don’t rest.”

Though, there are cultural precepts for these practices, they are unscriptural prayers (or concepts) that shouldn’t find a place among Christians. When a person dies, his spirit has departed. It’s unbiblical and illogical to suggest that a person gains the ability to answer prayers or protect because he is dead.

Finding a support group where you can talk about your loss is also helpful. Some grieving person’s need someone to talk to and share their feelings with. This is why Christians should not neglect those who are bereaved; they need our support, encouragement and prayers.

If you are still experiencing grief, you can write down what you like about the deceased and the moments you shared. You can also make an album of photographs or letters.

Participate in new activities that will fill that void. You can also use your experience to encourage others. I know a widow who lost her husband to prostate cancer. It was really tough on her, but later, she began to mine something positive out of her loss. She began advocating for men to go for prostate cancer screening and share how she overcame her own brush with grief and depression.

I also read about a woman named Valene who lost her 19 year old son to brain tumour. Her husband committed suicide due to the grief. But she finally overcame her pain and today has a support group to help other people heal after a loss. 

There is light at the end of a dark tunnel. Sometimes life takes us through the valley so we can help comfort others who will pass through the same. 

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