The Gain of Grief…

Can any good come from grief? When we’re going through it…when grief is washing over us…good is the last thing on our mind. 

A few years back we lost our family pet. For almost fifteen years, Betsy had been barking at anything that came within fifty yards of our house. She could be a real nuisance, especially when we had visitors at the door.

But that little dachshund was a part of our family and the day came when we had to make the difficult decision to let her go.

I’m usually the strong one in the family when it comes to stuff like this, so it was me who took her to the vet that day. When I went to remove the collar from around her neck, grief overtook me.

Grief is no respecter of persons.

In this life, grief passes our way – again and again. The loss of a family pet leaves an emptiness in the house.

But…in the loss of a spouse, child, parent, sibling…we feel the indescribable heaviness of grief and suffering.

Sometimes, grief comes, not in a loss-by-death, but through the loss of a significant presence or security in our life. Divorce. Rejection. Broken relationship. Loss of job/income. A bad report from the doctor.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!  Romans 8.18 AMPC

What can we possibly gain from grief?

The word sufferings in Romans 8.18 indicates a suffering of ¹the mind, emotions, or afflictions. Our entire person – not only what we feel, but our physical body, is affected by grief and suffering.

And, again I say, “Who’s thinking of what’s to gain in these difficult, debilitating moments?”

For over two years now, I’ve been walking through a season of grief. It was not a loss-by-death, but has been a suffering season, no less.

In losing the relationship of someone dear to me, I allowed the enemy of my soul {satan} to send me on a downward spiral. This downward momentum of mind, emotions, and afflictions almost did me in.

I remember the day my daughter-in-law, who is a counselor, looked at me and gently said, “You are grieving.”

Can good come from grief? There is a Gain of Grief; a gain to be found in the process of grief and suffering. Here's what I learned...Her observation helped me turn a corner.

It was not that I’d never known loss before. When I was in elementary school, my third grade teacher got cancer and died.

As a pastor’s daughter, I sat through more funeral services than most children should ever attend. Over the years, each of my grandparents passed away. I’d seen and tasted grief.

What I learned in this grief-journey, though, was to allow myself to gain something from the season of suffering.

Gain #1 – Accept that you are grieving.

This may sound almost unsympathetic or that I’m diminishing the deep emotions of grieving. Nothing is further from the truth, but there is a healing power in acknowledging you are going through suffering.

Regardless of what has caused your grieving season {a broken heart, a miscarriage, a debilitating illness} if you will begin to accept that this is where you are, I believe you’ll experience an initial relief from the overwhelming anxiety, heaviness, sleepless nights, and other effects.

The initial relief may be so small you can’t feel it, but you must begin somewhere.

Gain #2 – Go on through the process of grieving.

In recognizing that you are grieving, you give yourself permission to experience all of what you’re feeling. Remember those five stages of grief you learned in psychology classes? Denial – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance. It’s all real. Every stage.

Accept the fact that no matter what your grief is a result of, you must walk through this process. Let it happen. Allow God to hold you every step of the way. He can handle it. And He can handle you, if you’ll let Him. But you must keep going on through it.

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles… 2 Corinthians 1.3b-4a NLT

Gain #3 – Find the glory in the grieving.

I didn’t know this was a thing until I went through it. My recent experience has taught me that we can find glory in the grieving process.

  • If you will determine to lean into Jesus – Every. Single. Day…
  • If you will stay in God’s Word {even though some days all you can manage is to reach out and lay your hand on the Bible}…
  • If you’ll be brave enough to cry out to Him in the dark and lonely and difficult…

You will see the glory.

God’s promise is that the glory – His glory – will be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us in this life…in our suffering.

He cannot go back on His Word.

We all face grief and suffering. It will knock on your door. Grief will seek to wrestle you to the ground and choke the very life out of you.

When grief sets his sights on you, friend, I beg you to remember the Gain.

Jesus (the Gain) went to the grave and defeated death that you could survive this! Always keep your eyes on the Gain…the Promise…the Rescuer. Let Jesus hold you and walk with you through the process.

For great is His glory being revealed in you!

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¹Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary via WORDsearch11

image credit: Thomas Griesbeck & christian pics

6 thoughts on “The Gain of Grief…

  1. A friend once spoke the same words to me when I was in a long difficult season, “You are grieving.” It didn’t remove all the pain and sadness, but as you pointed out, it gave me permission to grieve and grow through it. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Karlene, I love your post on the gain of grief. I like that you mentioned the many forms of grieving. As a mom of adult children with mental illness, I had to learn to grieve my losses. They are losses the world doesn’t see at first glance. To be honest, I couldn’t quite figure out either.

    A friend gave me a great book, and I began to recognize the losses, and the process of grieving started. I can tell you amazing gains have come from that grief and illness. God is good. No matter what one still has to go through the grief.

    I have once again entered into a period of grieving this time with different circumstances. Your post has come at a perfect time. Glad we were neighbors on the link-up

    • Thank you for sharing with me a little your own “grief and gain” story, Maree. I can only imagine the many times you’ve been saddened and grieved at the situations you’ve faced in your family. How would we survive without our good, good Father? Praying you will find new strength in Him in this season.

  3. There’s so much good here in your words. I was just talking with someone last night about grief over the loss of relationships. The feelings are real, and acknowledging that helps to move forward through the grieving and healing process.
    Blessings,
    Laura

    • Thank you, Laura. This was a deeply personal post for me to write. I cried every time I read through, proofed, and edited it! Obviously, I’m still in the process. 🙂

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