To Every Thing There is a Season: What the Bible Says about Grief
By Betty Miller
A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. The mind of him who has understanding, seeks knowledge, inquires after and craves it, but the mouths of (self-confident) fools feed on folly. Proverbs 15:13-14 (AMP)
In these verses in Proverbs we find a comparison between a merry heart and a sorrowful heart. Verse 13 tells us that you can tell the condition of a man’s heart by looking at his countenance (his facial appearance). When people are happy, you can tell by the sparkle in their eyes, their smile and their cheerful attitude. When they are older, they will even have what we call “smile wrinkles” instead of the wrinkles caused by frowning. Indeed, facial looks reveal a lot about a person.
You can also read on a person’s face when they have sorrow in their heart, especially when you know a person. We have all experienced someone saying to us, when we were troubled about something, “What is wrong? Are you worried about something?” We all have experiences in our lives that cause us to be broken-hearted about an incident. The scripture tells us that if we allow this sorrow of heart to continue, it can break our spirits.
How can we get past heart break over the loss of someone or something? We must give the person or situation to the Lord and ask Him to remove the sorrow and grief from our hearts. We can keep the good memories of a lost loved one, but we must not allow the enemy to torment us with the grief of our loss. God will replace the emptiness we feel from the loss of a mate, a child, a friend, or a home, if we ask Him to do this. Jesus died on the cross, not only to give us eternal life, but He also died to take our grief and sorrows. Jesus Christ, on the cross bore all of our iniquities, pain, sickness and sorrow. Since He took them, we do not have to take these things, but rather receive our salvation, healing, deliverance and peace by faith.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6
Proverbs 15:14 tells us that if we have God’s understanding, we can ask Him for the knowledge to overcome every trial and problem we face. God is bigger than our grief, sorrow, pain and every problem that any of us could face. We must never blame Him for our troubles, as the devil is the trouble maker, not our Lord. God is there for us, to help us overcome anything the enemy has done, or is trying to do. God is the one that will rescue us and help us in our hour of need. However, we must not be like the fool who feeds on his folly. This is a person who is continually mouthing his troubles and blaming others, including God, for his circumstances. He feeds on self-pity and rehearses his problems to all who will listen. We must give our heartaches and troubles to God and keep a cheerful attitude no matter what is going on in our lives. We need to remember, “this too, shall pass” as God is eternal and has a good plan for our future.
As Christians, death is the last enemy we face, as we have the assurance that we shall see all of our loved ones who have died in Christ once again. The devil may have snatched them off this earth, but because they belong to God, He snatches them from the devil and takes them home with him. We will be reunited with them. That shall happen when we get to Heaven, or when Christ comes again to this earth and brings them with Him at the resurrection. We are not like those who have no hope. In Christ, our future is full of His promises and we are promised victory over death and the grave!
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Certainly, grief and sorrow are natural emotions that we all experience when we lose someone or something and it is not wrong to feel it at the time a loss or tragedy occurs. However, it is wrong to embrace these emotions as Christians. Just like it is not wrong to feel fear when we are in danger; however, it is wrong to embrace fear because it will destroy our faith. We must not embrace grief either, as the above scripture tells us to “sorrow not.”
I remember a number of years ago, a man came to Bud and me for counseling, as he had no joy in his life. We asked him when he lost his joy and he said it was after the accidental death of his grown son. The son had died in a plane crash. This man had been continually tormented by grief from that time, which had been over two years. We explained to him that tormenting grief was from the devil and he could be free from it. We were shocked at his reaction when we offered to pray for him to be free from this evil spirit. He absolutely refused. The devil had convinced him that if he quit grieving for his son, it meant he no longer loved his son. He was equating the emotion of grief with the emotion of love. He had embraced an addictive kind of agony and the devil made him reluctant to let it go. This kind of negative emotion causes men to live in the past and robs them of the present, and future. This man was no longer a good husband to his wife as his life was revolving around a dead son through the grief he refused to let go of.
Many people accept the devil’s sorrow and grief tunes by yielding to “singing the blues” or the “crying in your beer” mentality. Many of the songs that are sung in bars and nightclubs are this kind of music. Old melancholy songs about a lost love create a type of emotional sorrow that has an almost intoxicating feeling associated with it. The devil uses old memories to keep people in bondage to the past, even through a hurtful emotional attachment. The Bible tells us to forget those things behind us, and reach forth to the things in front of us in Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Grief that is not released to God has a deadly hold on many people. They carry this heavy burden that is aching for release. They may find temporary release when someone sympathizes with them or when they cry some tears, but soon this feeling turns into an overwhelming pain of loneliness that is almost unbearable. Grief and sorrow come to hurt us, not help us. We must resist them in the name of Jesus. Jesus does not want us to bear this grief. He bore it on the cross for us. Gladness and joy are our portion, not sorrow and sadness.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. Isaiah 51:11
We must resist sorrow and grief and ask for God’s peace and comfort when we face loss and heartache. If we submit unto God and resist the devil, then the tormenting grief and pain caused by the devil, will have to flee.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Here is a sample prayer you can offer to God:
Father God, Thank You for always being there for me no matter what I face. I know You will never fail me, even in my most intense trials. I have not always understood why I was going through certain things; however, I do not have to understand, because You are God and You are in control, in spite of my lack of understanding. I know that all You require of me is to trust You, and look to You in faith and You will come and save me, and bring me an answer. You always have, and You always will, because you are faithful. You never fail any of us who look to You. I have failed You, Lord, by my doubt and unbelief at times, but You have never failed me. Lord, please remove all the sorrow and grief I feel. Heal this pain I feel in my heart and help me to trust You more. Fill this empty place in my heart with more of Your Spirit. I ask this in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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