After reading a bad news the watchman is touched to put down some thoughts today .Although many do not like this subject, it is unavoidable. One day it comes suddenly and takes away the lid which you have placed on this part of your emotion. It floods through your whole being. The pain would be unbearable at most times.
The watchman had witnessed a stoic pastor coping with grief. He lost his eldest daughter (around fifteen years old then) when she fell into her tub and drowned while taking a bath and an epileptic seizure took her life. He was brave in the funeral singing hymns and encouraging others. But overnight he aged. He became very very old. How do ordinary Christians deal with grief? In the case of his own family, he also encountered two death in the last five years. In his experience not one family can avoid such losses. They cannot be replaced. A young pastor and his wife also encountered tremendous loss when they lost their first born at birth, a pair of twins. Although they had had three lovely and healthy children since then, the loss could not be replaced.
How shall a mere mortal like us handle grief? David gave us a human example. David was no ordinary human. He was a king who enjoyed great favor from God. The whole nation was behind him and he won all battles. When he realized he had actually lost this battle against the spiritual enemy (sins of adultery and murder) prior to this terrible sickness of his son, he tried to salvage it. How? He came back to God and humbled himself, repenting in action, fasting and petitioning and supplicating. but when he knew it was over, he stopped grieving. He went back to normal human life. But he was not really ‘normal. He was spiritual. He stayed close to the Lord and continued to walk by the Spirit. The end result was: God gave him the whole detailed plan for the temple of God, even in drawing!
Back to today’s ordinary Christian, how shall we handle grief and losses? We have the Holy Spirit in us. The only way is still God’s way. Stay real close to the spiritual God. See the unseen. Discern in the spirit what manner of spirit we ourselves are in. Never underestimate the enemy, of whom Jesus had forewarned us, the thief who would come in to steal, kill and destroy.
One verse which came to mind right now is Ecclesiastes 8:8 “No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit. And no one has power in the day of death.”
The watchman personally found it comforting when one walks by the Spirit. During the week before his brother’s death last year, he received verses from the Lord (Lamentation) so he was ready for the grief when his brother passed away during an afternoon nap (having led worship service that same morning). Quite sometime after the event he had a dream in which he saw his brother in heaven, smiling and looking youthful. The striking thing was his brother showed him his new teeth and told him, “See, all real!” (His brother was a chef). Indeed, to a man who was particular about the taste of food – a proof of good cooking, what more could make him happier than a pair of genuine new teeth? It made the watchman long for perfect 20/20 vision too!
Grief is for a season. Stopping to grieve does not mean heartlessness. It just means we continue to place our utmost trust on God and His goodness and mercy.
How did Jesus advise His followers on this matter? Here are some very important verses for us to meditate upon:
John 16:13 “…the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth”
John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
The watchman’s own guiding verses are from the Lord Jesus:
“Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4)
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).