Therefore you too have grief now.
—John 16:22

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die.” That is the truth. You are not going to get out of this world alive. But what about those of us who are left behind when we lose a loved one? How do we cope? This week, as we continue our series on our problems and God’s answers, we are going to talk about a common experience we are all going to go through at one time or another, and that is the problem of grief.

One of the most stressful events that a person can experience is the death of a spouse. Nothing causes more stress in your life than losing the person who is closest to you. C. S. Lewis, writing about the death of his wife, said, “Her absence is like the sky spread over everything.” He goes on to write, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. I’m not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.” Of course, you could expand that grief to include the loss of anyone who is important to you, such as a child, a parent, or a close friend.

There are some Christians who say, “Well, Christians aren’t supposed to grieve.” Nothing could be further from the truth. If there is one theme I want to leave with you this week, it is this: grief over the loss of a loved one is both a normal and a necessary emotion for our healing. And we are going to see that this week as we look in God’s Word. I want to begin by looking at the biblical basis for grief.

In John 11 we read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. While He was on earth, Jesus had three really close friends: Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Here is what happened to Lazarus: “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick’” (John 11:1-3). By the way, that verse ought to forever dispel the myth that if you follow Jesus Christ, somehow you are going to be exempted from suffering in life. The Lord loved Lazarus, but that did not prevent Lazarus from growing sick. But notice this: when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (v. 4). Sickness, and even death, brings glory to God.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Getting Over Grief” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Quote from C. S. Lewis, “A Grief Observed” (New York: HarperOne, 2009), 10, 15.

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