Posted on December 2, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)
It has been a very difficult year.
Maybe you lost a spouse, a friend, a child, a parent, a co-worker, maybe someone you knew who struggled with addiction. Maybe a friend or neighbor died of cancer, an accident, or even new and expanding variants of Covid-19.
Maybe you’re asking some really tough questions…
Why did she have to die?
He was just so young!
It wasn’t her fault!
I wasn’t ready for this.
It’s not fair!
You might even be asking….does God really care?
It doesn’t make any sense. The pain and the hurt from loss is just so overwhelming. It’s like a tsaumi of emotion that rolls over you. You can’t eat, or you eat too much. You can’t sleep, or all you want to do is sleep. You take risks, or you hide from others. There no explanation for it…there’s no answer for it. And it’s really painful. Really painful.
This year, the Keswick family has experienced the pain lost a number of prayer partners, ministry friends, and staff members. We are all feeling the loss and experiencing the grief.
But we know these very special people are now in the presence of Jesus, enjoying the eternal reward.
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
But for us, it hurts now.
We grieve because we love. The more you loved that person, the more you grieve that person. That’s why grieving is such a personal experience. Nobody can tell you how to grieve, how long to grieve, the right way to grieve, or what to expect as you grieve. This is a journey – a grief journey. And it’s your journey. In fact, it’s okay not to be okay.
One thing that grieving people do, is look for comfort. It might be food, shopping, binge watching Netflix, or in the case of those who have been in the Colony or Barbara’s Place, returning to their addiction. Although it might give us some sense of control over an uncontrollable situation, in reality it distracts you from that necessary act of grieving. And we need to return to the source of all comfort – God.
But let’s be honest. When we are going through grief, we just don’t feel like God is really there. We don’t feel his presence, because we don’t feel anything! And we might acknowledge God verbally….but we have so many questions, and those questions have no answers.
- Keep hurting: That’s a good thing – believe it or not. You’re feeling strong emotional feelings that you need to travel this journey.
- Keep trusting: You might not acknowledge that God cares or even understands. But keep trusting him through this journey.
- Don’t Quit: Remember, in this journey you’re not trying to move on. You’re moving forward. That is key. Don’t look for distractions to control your feelings. Don’t look to replace that person with another person or dependency. Keep moving on your journey. Seek help and guidance as you work through all the emotions and feelings.
We can cry out to God in our time of need. It doesn’t matter when we experienced our loss – could be weeks, months, or even years. It could have been when you were in the heat of your addiction, or it could have been the cause of your addiction. Grief never really ends – it changes. And God still cares:
Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
America’s Keswick offers GriefShare. It’s an opportunity to gather in community and learn from each other.
- GriefShare is offered to the community as part of our ENRICH program on Tuesday mornings at 10 am on campus in the Millsaps Room in the Raws Auditorium.
- Starting on December 2, we will be offering GriefShare to current and former Colony graduates on Thursdays at 7 pm in the Colony Chapel.
Both groups are available through Zoom. If you have any questions, please contact us at 732-350-1187.
Written by Paul Ciotta: Chaplain Paul Ciotta serves at the Colony of Mercy, where men struggling in the bondage of addiction seek a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. He has been connected with America’s Keswick for more than 20 years as a vacationer, donor, and pastor/delegate and mentor to Colony graduates. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. -Colossians 3:12-13