Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
 For You have delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling and falling.
In 1978-1980, I commuted from home to work every day, over 100 miles each way. To keep me company on the long ride, I would listen to Paul Harvey. a conservative talk show host, true stories he told every morning. One of my favorites was a lady who went to a local newspaper to report the death of her husband. She took a glowing four page report to the obituary counter. Upon seeing it, the counter’s clerk said, “Ma’am, you should know that it costs $.50 a word to put that in the paper.” Stunned, the wife took it back and re-wrote it. It now said “Sam Brown dies.” The clerk said, “I’m sorry ma’am, but there’s a 7-word minimum.” The widow took it back and counting on her fingers wrote: “Sam Brown dies…’88 Ford for sale.”
Somewhere, in between the humorous, quick fix Paul Harvey’s widow and the person today–who for years cannot bring themselves to go on with their life because of GRIEF (a “bump”), believe there’s an equilibrium of emotion that God wants for us.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (GNT):
 “He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing.”
The author of PSALM 116 went through the process of GRIEF and was able to find comfort in the process.
GRIEF is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone the individual loses is taken away [See footnote [i] ].
If you have never experienced the emotion of LOSS before, trust me, someday you will.
Since it is an involuntary emotion, it’s not wrong to express GRIEF, in fact it is normal.
The apostle Paul, a man who experienced loss, wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]” (Amplified Bible-AMP).
He doesn’t say “don’t grieve,” but in your GRIEF, remember to place your HOPE in God.
PSALM 116, most commentators agree, that it’s a “Psalm of Grief.” They are not sure of the circumstances but looking at some of the words the psalmist uses…
Vs. 3: “death was around me”; “I suffered anguish and grief’
Vs. 10: “I am greatly afflicted.”
So the Psalmist has been grieving, and although we’re not sure of the cause of his mourning, we do know that GRIEF can come in a variety of ways.
The most common GRIEF experienced is from the loss of a loved one.
I believe this is behind the Psalmist’s sorrow.
Vs. 15: “Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones).”
The loss of a loved one, especially if they are young or the death is sudden, may be the hardest kind of GRIEF to deal with, but it’s not the only source. The loss of possessions, the loss of health, even the loss of a pet.
Some commentators feel that when the Psalmist says in vs. 3, “the cords and sorrows of death were around me,” that maybe he was referring to his own health.
A loss of health can certainly cause GRIEF, but it is also not uncommon for a person going through intense GRIEF to have a variance of HEALTH PROBLEMS; insomnia, exhaustion, head aches, anxiety, depression and more.
And GRIEF can come from a loss of RELATIONSHIP too.
Counselors often say that a DIVORCE is tougher to live with than DEATH. They live with the ever-present loss of the partnership, the loss of companionship, and unfulfilled expectations.
That brings us now, how do we RESPOND to GRIEF.
Since there’s a variety of reasons that we suffer, I wanted to look at how we respond to it. But as I thought about our responses, I felt the importance of what one trying to HELP the GRIEF STRICKEN should do and not do.
Let’s face it, many have not suffered these kind of losses and it’s crucial that we have some idea how to respond to others when a critical loss happens.
In my Detective investigation of GRIEF, I ran across a survey taken by Bob Russell, a preacher in Louisville, Kentucky, involving people who’ve gone through the GRIEVING PROCESS.
I’m going to borrow and share with you the 10 practical suggestions of the “do’s” & “don’ts” to help us understand how to help someone who’s GRIEVING:
(1) Don’t avoid the person who MOURNS.
We worry sometimes about “I don’t know what to say.” “I’ll feel so awkward at the funeral home.” The worst thing we can do when someone is GRIEVING is to do nothing.
(2) Don’t think you have to say the “right thing.”
The people in the SURVEY said consistently, the person who helped the most was the close friend who was just there…sitting next tom them, just listening.
(3) Don’t treat the survivor differently.
For example, if you would have invited the couple to the party, then invite the widow or widower to the party.
(4) Do understand the GRIEVING PROCESS takes a long time.
(5) Don’t think it’s necessary to bring it up every time you’re with them.
DON’T say, “How are you REALLY doing?” DON’T push!
(6) Do expect their EMOTIONS to fluctuate.
The survivor isn’t always going to feel badly. Let them be happy, let them be sad, maybe all in a matter of moments.
(7) Do be willing to reminisce.
Sometimes I think they won’t want to hear something about their love one because it might make them feel bad.
Let them talk about their memories, then you can join in with them by saying “You know one time Frank and I were…” -OR- “I remember how Frank loved to give me a big hug every time we met.”
(8) Do be personal in your remembrances.
If you know something nice to say, then say it! “O, your mother was so wonderful to me.” “Your Dad’s strong faith was such a blessing to me.”
(9) Do keep your sense of humor. “A cheerful heart does good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22 LB).
Vance Havner, a famous preacher, when someone would come up to him after the death of his wife and say, “Sorry you lost your wife.” He’d smile and say, “Well, don’t be…after all, somethings not lost if you know its location! And I know right where to find her!”
But remember, Proverbs 14:13 (AMP) also says:
“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth us heaviness and grief.”
So, even though we should keep a sense of humor, don’t think the laughter means the PAIN is completely over.
(10) And Do remember, the time you are needed the most, is not immediately.
Oh, you need to be there from the start but so does everyone else. But 6-8 weeks or 6 months later, when everyone else is gone…that’s when you’re needed most!
KNOW THAT THERE IS HELP WITH GRIEF AVAILABLE WHEN YOU NEED IT!
FIRST, know that there is HELP from God.
It’s important that those going through GRIEF–the “bumps in the road”–know that the Lord offers some incredible resources to help HEAL.
The Psalmist here mentions several, starting with Vs. 5: “Our God is merciful (compassionate)”.
You, or someone you know, when going through the GRIEF process, are not alone.
JESUS knows how you feel because He has been where you are. Read the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John sometime, where you’ll find the murder of John the Baptist’s murder. When Jesus finds out the news of his cousin, his friend, his co-worker John, he wanted to get away from people and be by Himself. He wanted space to GRIEVE.
Hebrews 4:15 says, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin” (MSG).
God knows exactly how you feel and offers His compassion.
Next, God promises protection – Vs. 6:
 “The Lord protects the simple and the children; I was facing death, and then he saved me.” (TLB)
Allow the LOSS your going through, whatever it is, draw you into a DEEPER dependence on Him.
God promises DELIVERANCE from GRIEF – Vs. 8:
 For You have delivered my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling and falling (AMP).
Now, it’s going to take time to make progress through the journey. But God is with you every step of the way. He will DELIVER you!
You’ll have to experience some depression probably, but not total defeat. I’ve said to my wife many times when hearing about the GRIEF in a church family, “I don’t know how people go through this without the Lord; without Christian friends.”
That conversation brought me to Peter’s words to mind.
1 Peter 1:5-6 (AMP):
 Being guarded by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.
 [You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations.
I love the way The Living Bible (TLB) words Vs. 6: “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.”
So, there’s God’s promised help in terms of His promises but He also offers help in terms of His people.
You see, God’s greatest PROMISE is heaven, but His greatest help lies in those who have undergone GRIEF and understand how essential He is to getting us through those “bumps in life.”
The apostle Paul tells us in the 1st chapter of 2 Corinthians about how this works:
 “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (NIV).
“I HAVE TRAVELED DOWN THE SAME ROAD”
I was reading a little devotional commentary that is true to the Word of God. Dr. George Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas for 50 years, told the following story of a young, unbelieving couple in a sermon.
The young couple, who had just lost their baby, came to Dr. Truett, asking him to conduct the funeral, so he did.
He said later, he had joy of seeing them both come to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Many months later, he said the young mother who had lost her child stepped forward, went to a young girl’s side and said, “I passed through this and I know what you’re passing through. God called me and through the darkness I came to Him. He’s comforted me and He’ll comfort you.”
Dr. Truett said the first mother did more for the second mother than I could have done, maybe in days or months. For the first young mother had traveled down the same road of GRIEF & SUFFERING [See footnote [ii] ].
That’s what Paul is talking about in the help of others who are have the same experience in life.
You are never alone in your GRIEF, and know this about our heavenly Father–
“Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones)” (Psalm 116:15).
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES
Footnote [i]: Wikipedia, the Free encyclopedia- the word GRIEF.
PHOTOS: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: The Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.