ODJ: Seasons of Grief

June 28, 2016 

READ: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  

A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance (v.4).

Last year I received two pieces of extremely sad news within a few hours. First came the news that a dear friend died of a sudden heart attack. Steve, who was only 60 years old, was a good man who loved Jesus and his family. A few hours later brought the tragic news of a dearly loved couple whose marriage had collapsed under the weight of an adulterous affair.

Both pieces of news hit me hard. One was painful enough; together they threatened to put me over the edge.

Later that night, I found myself tempted to do something I had never done before. I’ve personally never felt an urge to escape pain through alcohol. Food is normally my ‘anesthetic’ of choice. But as I wrestled with my emotions, reeling from the death of a dear friend and a marriage I thought was as healthy as it gets, I was tempted to get my hands on some booze and drink the pain away.

I know. Not a good plan.

I’ve experienced enough grief to know that to run from the pain of loss is a bad idea. Stuffing the ache of a deep loss will more than likely cause it to emerge as something else, like an addiction or a depression.

The writer of Ecclesiastes offers grief-stricken souls a helpful perspective. “For everything there is a season.” There’s “a time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4).

Seasons of grief come and go throughout our lives. And we must allow ourselves to feel the sting of our losses. Grieve in healthy ways that lead to new seasons of joy by God’s healing work (Mathew 5:4; Revelation 21:4). He is “close to the brokenhearted” and “rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (Psalm 34:18).

—Jeff Olson

365-day plan: Matthew 5:1-16

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and consider what God does as we grieve loss in this life. 
Are you going through a season of loss where you are struggling to grieve? Reach out in prayer to God and to a godly friend before it has a chance to turn into something worse.