Over the last six months I have woken up to three separate texts or phone calls that someone who was close to me or someone in our church family had unexpectedly died. Loss hurts and it has profoundly impacted our church and our community, especially over these past few weeks. The funerals of these three men have been full of pain, remembering, hope and love. One thing is clear, we are all hurting from loss. I’m not sure what type of loss you may be facing: death of a family member, unemployment, separation, divorce, sickness, abandonment, but NO ONE is immune from experiencing LOSS. It is something we all have in common. Here is something about loss that I have discovered:
Loss creates clarity on what is important in life.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4
Loss brings out our true character, after all, your true self is exposed when you are placed under extreme pressure. So how should we deal with loss?
6 Ways to deal with LOSS
#1 Grieve – It’s ok, grieve. I mean really grieve. Mourn, take a day off, cry it out. People who avoid grief are setting themselves up for emotional sickness. After all, if Jesus grieved after the loss of Lazarus we should feel free to be emotional and let Jesus be our strength. The two words that put me in touch with my grief are these: “Jesus Wept.” John 11:35 It’s the shortest, yet likely the most profound scripture in the Bible.
#2 Relate – I recently told a close friend who is experiencing deep loss, “Let the church be the church.” This is what people are for, COMFORT. Remember no matter what you are going through, someone has gone through it. There is nothing new under the sun. It means there are people who would love to walk alongside you. This is where the church comes in. It won’t be perfect, people won’t be flawless, but let them help. Their intentions are noble. This is critical, you must NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF.
#3 Process – Realize you will not be healed in a day. It takes time, effort and steadfastness to process deep pain and loss. Depending on the severity it may take months or even years to feel like you have recovered. But healing is a process. Psalm 77 outlines this process beautifully. Despair (vs. 1-9) , dependence (vs. 10-15) then determination (vs 16-20).
#4 Celebrate – This may seem counterintuitive, but with every loss there should be a celebration. A funeral is a celebration of someone’s life. When you lose your job, celebrate the relationships you made. Even when you divorce, you should remember the good times you had with your former spouse. Remember: GOD IS FAITHFUL. Read Psalm 66 and remind yourself of this truth. “How awesome are the deeds of God.”
#5 Dream – It may seem almost impossible, but ask God to put a new song in your heart. You must choose to believe that the “mercies of God are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23. It is difficult but give yourself permission to dream. Now gain hope because Jesus WILL bring you through, he NEVER abandons you in your time of need. ASK Him for a fresh vision. His forgiveness has given you a reason to dream.
#6 Serve – The reason God gives you wounds is so your impact will be authentic. I call this “a ministry with teeth”. God often gives you wounds so you can become strong in order to help others from them. It may not be today or next month, but it is clear all throughout scripture that the weak become strong. This is the epicenter and the genius of the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus crucified, hopeless, innocent, powerless, and utterly defeated on the cross, three days later displaying the POWER of the resurrection because death could not hold him down! (Just writing that last phrase gave me chills).
I know it’s tough, but persevere. What other words would you add in how to deal with loss? Let’s encourage one another.
Here is a link to watch the weekend message from 217church: Healing From Loss
Join us at 217church at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater or
11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School
If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!
Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00. Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here