In “Legends of the Fall”, the final scene is a fight with a bear that consumes its victim. Tristan was described as always living in the ‘borderlands’ between this life and the next; those who loved him died young as he was the rock their lives smashed against. His journey was long and haunted by a bear called grief; it was said when he finally faced the bear, “it was a good death.”
A battle with grief is long and arduous; with its claws, it takes swipes at sleep, security, hope, friendships, and productivity, leaving your heart calloused over with scars.
Like the bear, grief hibernates in your soul, only to awaken more hungry than before and ready to feed on your emotions. If allowed, grief will devour your soul, leaving the skeletal remains of bitterness, discontent, hopelessness, and despair of life itself.
The ‘good death’ referred to in the story does not have to be yours. Through Christ, who is ever fighting for you, the death can be the bear called grief, and victory can be yours every time he rears his ugly head.
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.’ Mourning or grieving is a part of life. Jesus grieved the death of His friend Lazarus, He grieved the hardened hearts of Israel, and God grieves our sinful hearts. We are created in His image; therefore, we know grief as well. To find the comfort God offers, we must mourn our loss and our sinful state that keeps us from contentment. By faith in Jesus, every resource of Heaven is available to us to fight this bear called grief. Through the Spirit, you have His strength, wisdom, courage, endurance, and hope. In Christ, the victory is already won! We have only to call on His name and enter into His rest.
The mistake we make is not acknowledging God and leaning on our own understanding; this leads to self-pity and believing we are alone. Neither of these is healthy, and both lead down a journey of darkness and despair that offers no hope.
But, there is hope, and His name is Jesus. We find Him by acknowledging God, crucifying our willful understanding, and living in obedience to God’s word. There is no other way to the truth that will lead to hope and the victory found only in Jesus.
Grief is a bear that will consume your soul and claim ‘a good death’, but it need not claim your life. Victory in Jesus is yours if only you listen to God say, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:10)
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
Think About This: “Looking inside ourselves, we can anticipate only harshness from heaven. Looking out to Christ, we can anticipate only gentleness.” ―