I was doing my Sparking, which included checking out a couple of daily Spark blogs, and found this one on grieving. It made me consider my own times of grief.
I had my first child in 1975. The pregnancy was normal and happy. But during labor, something went wrong and thye didn't discover it to do the emergency C-section until it was too late. So it was on Christmas Eve that Gloria Noel entered Life Eternal.
Loss of a child at any age is painful. And ON a holiday? How do you think YOU would react?
I was a young believer at the time - I'd only received Christ as my Lord and Savior as a Senior in high school, a few months before my 18th birthday. Now I was 22. It was my first crisis of faith. When i arrived home from the hospital, arms empty and heart broken, I had it out with the Lord. "I don't know if I want to trust You for other children - look what happened with THIS one." Anger. But it didn't take too long for me to conclude that if I couldn't trust HIM, whom COULD I trust - and that I really did - and do - believe that God is wise, and good, and loving. My conclusion was that I would trust God, even if I did not understand the WHY of a situation.
And because I found my comfort in Him, I grew in the ministry of comfort and encouragement - as it says in 2 Cor. 1:3 - 4 " Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." During my first mission trip to Peru, while the American missionary was showing me the new building, I saw a funeral going on at the cemetary across the street. It was the grandchild of a woman who later became my friend, and the native pastor took me to visit her. And I was able to comfort her with the same comfort I had received. During another missionary trip, I was also able to comfort a young Peruvian woman whose child recently was stillborn.
Then there was the violent loss of my dad and stepmother - and my step-brother, who had stabbed them to death in a psychotic episode before taking his own life. I ran straight to the arms of the Lord to carry me through the storm of emotions that assailed me, and felt myself lifted up on the prayers of my church family. I could weep freely. I had occasional bouts of book-throwing anger from the pain of loss, but He carried me through. And so I could also relate to the students at the city high school where I work, who also face loss of friends or family through violence. I was able to have peace while my son was serving in the National Guard in Iraq. (I thank God he came home safely, because there had been some close calls).
Then there was my mom's passing. I wasn't here when it happened, but I had stopped to visit her before going on a mission trip, and she and I both knew she was getting near the end. She told me not to cut my trip short if she went Home before I got back. She was a Christian too - so we had the assurance of being reunited eventually. And i was able to express to her how much she meant to me - how her acceptance of my friends, taking them in in times of trouble, was an example to me to be a spiritual mother to so many young people in Peru. It's a blessing to give a person a eulogy BEFORE they leave you. And when she passed while I was still in Peru, i was among people who could comfort me, who let me cry on their shoulders, who took me for walks and outings so I could find peace in God's creation.
My husband's passing was also very peaceful. His heart failed in his sleep. He'd been going downhill a long time, and I was concerned that he'd have a rush to the hospital, be all hooked up to tubes and things. But no...It even took a while to realize he'd gone. We let the grandkids give him a hug and a kiss good-bye because he looked like he was sleeping.I cried - but I'd been under the shadow of sudden widowhood for so long, and was able to give God thanks that He took him SO peacefully. Yes, we miss him at the holidays. But we know where he is. And we know he and my mom get along now!
I realize there are plenty of psychiatric and humanistic approaches to grief. But there is nothing like the peace that comes from the Prince of Peace.