Back Home Up Next

Adversity, Stress & Grief

By Bart Nelson

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2003 – All rights reserved

 

Copying and translation authorized for free distribution.

 

If you translate any of my work, I would ask for a copy of anything you translate, preferably electronically. Thank you!

 

Not for sale or offering except with author's permission.

 

For more information please contact me:

 

Phone – 253.564.3261

 

Email – etsministries@yahoo.com


 

 

Why does adversity come to our lives? This teaching will help us understand how to endure, or better, how to overcome adversity. There are at least five reasons why adversity may come to our life.

 

1.     The first reason we might have adversity in our lives is that we haven’t renewed our minds to think like God commands us to. Eph. 4.22-24 That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Rom. 12.1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 2 Cor. 10.4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Satan comes to us with thoughts contrary to the Word of God. The world around us attacks us daily with bad thoughts. At times they may come from a close friend or family member. Mt. 16.21-23 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." Here Jesus had two options. He could have accepted what Peter said or reject it. If He had accepted it, He could have been filled with doubts about the will of God for His life or even sinned, bringing adversity to Himself. We MUST know God and His will, which is revealed in His Word.

 

When the enemy comes to deceive us, we will be ready to fight. Remember Jn. 10.10. Jesus came to give us life abundantly, but the thief (satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy. The spirit of rejection operates in some of our lives, lying to us and filling us with these types of thoughts.

 

2.     The second reason we may have adversity is that God has put laws in action in the physical world just like the spiritual world. Life is like a garden. What we plant, we will harvest. But the harvest, whether good seed or bad, always gives an increase. Gal. 6.7-10 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. 2 Cor. 9.6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

 

If we pull something up after it is planted (by confessing our sin and repenting of it) we can help the situation. It is like pulling weeds, leaving the good things to grow better. At times adversity comes to our life because we are reaping what we have planted earlier, or others had planted something and we let it grow. When we have adversity, we need to run to our Daddy, asking Him to reveal if there is sin in our lives to cause this to happen. Ps. 139.23-24 is a great prayer for times like that. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. If the Holy Spirit shows us sin, confess it immediately. Jer. 17.9-10 tells us that our heart is deceitfully wicked, that we can not know it. We must allow the Holy Spirit to examine us. So, introspection is not the answer.

 

3.     At times God allows adversity to teach us things, like patience or forgiveness. Mt. 18.21-35  Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.

The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

 

Jam. 1.2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Rom. 5.3-5 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

 

2 Cor. 12.9-10 And He said to me,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. As we count it all joy and endure the trial with the correct attitude, we can gain the character God wants us to. That is why thanks and praise regardless of what is happening around us is so critical. Thanks and praise brings God’s presence, Ps. 22.3 But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Then, God's presence brings joy, Ps. 16.11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. The key here, is much like step 2, we need to ask the Lord why this thing is in our lives. If we still have peace and a clean conscience, we can know that the adversity comes from reasons number 4 or 5.

 

4.     Like you may know, Satan is the source of much of our adversity. Jam. 4.7 (Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you) gives us the answer, RESIST! First, we must submit to God. That's why steps 1-3 are so important. We want to make sure there is no sin in our lives. 1 Pet. 5.6-10 gives us a lot of help as well. 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. We must resist the devil, but at the same time, we must wait patiently, expecting God to fulfill His promises to us. God is working, we must trust in Him! Prov. 24.10 says, If you are weak in the day of tribulation, your strength is weak. We can't be weak or dismayed in adversity, because this gives the devil the victory and we lose. Persist and resist him and trust and praise the Lord. You WILL see results.

 

5.     Many times we don’t think about the fifth reason we have adversity. We can find it in Mark 4.4-9 and 13-20 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” And He said to them,  “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

And He said to them,  “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” When we hear the word, and even more, when we preach it, we may receive adversity. Satan puts things in our mind to cause us to forget or to doubt what we just heard or preached. You can be sure that after this teaching you will have some sort of test to rob this word from you. DON'T LET THE DEVIL HAVE THE SEED OF THE WORD! With this or whatever word -- guard the truth and never let it go. Realize that the devil is a liar!

 

When you feel pressure from the enemy, this is the time to put pressure on him. Patience is the way to do it. He has a lot of patience in his attacks on us, right? We need to have even more than he does. Heb. 10.35-36 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. We must guard our confidence, do the will of God and we will receive all the blessings of the Lord. Heb. 11.1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is believing in what we cannot see. If we can see it, we don't need faith. God is truer than the pressure that comes against you! Heb. 11.6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God is our rewarder, but we have our part to do. We must seek Him continually, patiently, diligently. Typically, we don't like words like these. But in order to win the daily battle we must have more patience than the enemy.

 

We will recognize what is the source of our adversity. We will do whatever we need to overcome it. In the end, we will be patient and we will see the blessings of God. His word is true, although all men and demons be liars!

 

God’s Keys to Handling Stress

 

Psalms 37:1. Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. {Commit: Heb. Roll your way upon} 6 And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. 7. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. {Rest in: Heb. be silent to}

 

Several keys to start off with here. The first is a command to fret not. That means that stress is a sin, against God’s commands. That is a good thing. If it were just a feeling, I couldn’t confess it, repent, renounce and be washed clean and delivered of it. Instead I would be stuck with it as a normal part of life. But GOD said it’s not normal, it’s sin. Secondly, watch what I’m fretting over. The end of the thing is not seen yet! This is true regardless of what I am fretting over -- I don't know the end of the story. Fear -- a type of fretting, has a revealing acronym -- False Evidence Appearing Real. When we see the end, the real deal is revealed and usually we understand that all that fretting was for naught. Third, I need to trust, and as I do good, God will provide perfectly. Fourth, I should focus on, be soft toward or delight myself in God. He is the only one worthy of my delight. Nothing I might fret about is worthy of my focus. Next, I need to commit, or roll, whatever I am stressed over to God. Is it a relationship, stuff, responsibilities, whatever give it to Jesus to be in control of. Lastly, rest and wait. Two words I am not comfortable with, especially when I am stressed. But if I have done the other things, then the rest and waiting come more easily.

 

Check out the benefits: evildoers will be cut down, I will live in the land and be fed (provision), I will get the desires of my heart, God will bring the thing to pass, and God will bring forth my rightness and judgment. Hallelujah!

 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.

As my sister-in-law pointed out to me, this is an oft quoted and memorized verse, and with its familiarity, tends toward powerlessness in our lives. No fault of God’s, just laziness in me. Trusting implies lack of fretting, because you can't do both, especially if I do it with all my heart which implies there is no room for anything else! Leaning not on MY understanding is key because I don't and can't know it all. Therefore, I should and must lean on Him who does! As I acknowledge God as being my source of everything, praise Him for all He does -- He will direct my paths. What more do I need or ask for?

 

John 14:1. Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me.

Often I say to my heart, say to others or have others say to me, "It’s OK to be stressed, fearful, etc., you deserve it, go ahead. This situation warrants it!" It may not put in so many words, but the effect is the same. But Jesus commands us to not let it be troubled, but, instead, believe in God and Jesus. In this sense, I think that the word ‘believe’ includes prayer, meditation on who God is and what He’s done in the past, and praise and thanks for what He will do.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

More steps. Rejoice in Jesus always. That’s an act of my will, not a feeling. Feelings follow actions and they cannot be commanded. Jesus is always worthy of my rejoicing, regardless of circumstances, not only for who He is, but also for what He is doing, has done and will do, even though I often don’t understand nor appreciate it adequately. This is an act of faith! Be anxious for nothing, pray about everything with thanks. I find myself striving to not be anxious. Oftentimes I’m quite good; sometimes I’m not. What's my problem? I don’t combine the dos with the don’ts. I need to pray and give thanks. That is the total solution. What's the result? Peace! (The opposite of stress.) This is not your ordinary peace. Its peace that doesn’t make sense (passes understanding). It literally guards our hearts and minds. What a deal!  Lastly, I am told to control what I think about. My mind is like a cassette tape. I can do two things with it: playback or record. If I don’t like what is playing, I can over the top of it. That is, think, sing or pray proactively. Meditate on a scripture, pray for someone in need (perhaps someone with similar issues as mine), or praise the Lord. The saying goes that I can’t help if a bird lands in my hair (temptation) but I can keep if from building a nest there (succumbing to the temptation, sin). The enemy will soon quit his junk if he realizes that all it will produce is positive results and we resisting the temptation.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. In this verse the Lord reveals that fear and anxiety (twin brothers) are spirits. As spirits, I have authority over them in Jesus’ name, by the blood of Jesus, and if I resist them accordingly, they must flee. I need to not overlook this especially when a particular anxiety or fear persists.

 

James 1:2. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; {or trials} 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him. An additional key not already listed is asking God for wisdom. I don’t always recognize that my stress is can be a lack of wisdom. So ask already!

 

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. Lastly, humble myself. Recognize that God is in control and that He is good at it! I am not good at being in control. I am not all-powerful, all knowing and everywhere at once. God is. And, He cares about little ol’ me and all the stuff I deal with. Wow. So I can cast all my cares, each and every one of them, into His very capable hands and He will care for them better than I can. Then I need to be careful and not climb into His lap like a fretful child and try to ‘help’ Him fix my problems. He I perfectly capable, and all I will do is get in the way!

One of the chief strategies of the enemy is distraction. That’s why we must be sober and vigilant. Stress is one of the main weapons he sends our way to get our eyes off Jesus and the tasks at hand for the kingdom. If we’re not careful, we can get carried away for hours and days….

 

In conclusion, in sound bites, fret not, trust, delight, commit and rest. Lean not on me, acknowledge God. Let heart not be troubled, believe. Rejoice, don't be anxious, pray about everything, thanks and control thoughts. Don’t forget spiritual warfare. Ask already (for wisdom). Be humble and vigilant.

 

I don't mean to gloss over any of the trials and tribulations of our lives. Some have truly suffered and we can certainly go through tough times emotionally. We should not be condemned for those tough times, but we shouldn't stop there either. The Bible shows our forefathers having rough times in their minds and hearts due to things they went through. They set examples for us to follow, however, by not staying there, but going through. I love the words of a song that Ron Kenoly sings, "If you're going through hell, don't stop, if you catch hell, let go!"

 

I want to list a few examples to encourage us and spur us on:

 

Paul -- 2 Cor. 1.8-11 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. 2 Cor. 4.8-15 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

 

David -- 1 Sam. 30.1-6 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. Ps. 56.1-4 Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

 

Job -- Job 1.13-21 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Job 2:7-10 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

 

Habakkuk -- Hab. 3.17-18 Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

 

James -- Jam. 1.1-4 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad {because of persecution}: Greetings. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

 

Peter -- 1 Pet. 1.6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

 

Grief

I have had grief over many issues. I'll not list them all here, but I encourage you to write a list of yours as I have done. Just writing the list itself is part of the healing. I didn't recognize all that I had grieved about. But the writing of this helped me put some things in the past. May it do the same for you and any you may minister to.

 

To summarize, I have grieved over physical ailments, lost loved ones and pets, lost jobs and friends left behind. I have grieved over the deaths of dreams and visions. Natural and unnatural disasters have caused grief. Pain and sickness of myself and loved ones, separations and divorces have been causes of grief. Loss of possessions has caused me grief. Hurt caused by those closest to me has been grievous as well.

 

Often the grieving process was never finished, or even recognized. This was often due to busyness and lack of understanding. Also, I was not ‘allowed’ to be stressed or upset. I was supposed to be the ‘rock’.

 

God’s Answers

 

·    Before Dad died, God used the changing of autumn, the transition between summer and winter to prepare me for what was ahead. Winter, especially to primitive peoples, can be devastating. Extreme cold, no food, shortened daylight all add up to pretty grim times. Just before this happens, though, GOD puts on a tremendous show, almost daring winter, stating, "It may get tough, but I’m in control!"

 

At the same time He reminded me that without clouds that sunrises, sunsets and rainbows would be boring, if not almost non-existent. Clouds tend to bring storms, at times devastatingly harmful and cruel. But without the clouds -- there is no glory. Even as I wrote that, the thought came to mind that God’s glory was often revealed as a cloud!

Isn’t God wonderful to prepare me so! I was unaware why God was bringing these lessons to me at that time...but within days I was amazed.

 

What we need to come to realize is that it is not wrong to grieve. In fact, if the person involved is close to us, it would be wrong NOT to grieve. What we want to do is face the fact that we are grieving and then allow Holy Spirit to comfort us so that we can move to a place where we can function. We will always have the loss, but God, in His grace, can bring healing and move us to the point to where the wound is not so fresh and we are able to do all He has for us. Some scriptures that have helped me in this process follow. Some of them promise comfort, while others promise renewal. Eventually, God does want us to move on and we need to cooperate with Him in that process. Let's make sure we're not hindering that!

 

v     2 Samuel 22:19 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was My Stay.

v     Job 5:18 For he makes sore, and binds up: he wounds, and his hands make whole.

v     Psalms 3:2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the Lifter Up Of My Head. 4. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

v     Psalms 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

v     Psalms 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

v     Psalms 34:22 The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

v     Psalms 41:3 The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: you will make all his bed in his sickness. 4 I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.

v     Psalms 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

v     Psalms 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

v     Psalms 147:3 He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.

v     Isaiah 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD binds up the breach of his people, and heals the stroke of their wound.

v     Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.

v     Is. 42.9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

v     Is. 43.18 Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; will you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

v     Is. 48.6 You have heard, see all this; and will not you declare it? I have shown you new things from this time, even hidden things, and you did not know them. 7They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when you heard them not; lest you would say, Behold, I knew them.

v     Isaiah 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

v     Isaiah 53:3. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4. Surely he has borne our grief, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

v     Isaiah 58:10 And if you shall draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noonday: 11 And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 12 And they that shall be of you shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.13. If you shall turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: 14 Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.

v     Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

v     Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

v     Jeremiah 30:17 For I will restore health to you, and I will heal you of your wounds, says the LORD; because they called you an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeks after.

v     Jeremiah 31:11 For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. 12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for grain, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. 13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. 14 And I will abundantly satisfy the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, says the LORD. 24 And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all her cities together, farmers, and they that go forth with flocks. 25 For I have abundantly satisfied the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. 31 Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

v     Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

v     Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

v     Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

v     John 7:37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirsts, let him come to me, and drink. 38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.

v     Rom. 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

v     Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

v     2 Corinthians 1:3. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.

v     2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

v     2 Cor. 5.16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 

v     Phil 3.13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

v     2 Thessalonians 2:16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.

v     Rev. 21.5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

 

It is reported that Leo Buscalia gives a yearly reward for those who love the best. One year it was given to a 5-year-old boy. It is reported that when an elderly neighbor’s wife had died. One day he was out in his yard. The little boy went over and climbed into the neighbor’s lap. Shortly, the man began to cry. Later, the mother heard that the man had been greatly comforted by the boy. She asked her son what he had said. "Oh, nothing," he replied, "I just helped him cry." Thank the Lord for those who help us cry and pray that we can do the same for others. Those in grief don’t need answers or platitudes. They mainly need to know that it is OK to cry and to be weak. It is especially comforting to have those who love you be around and help you cry.

 

God calls us to forgive any who have hurt us. As we are confronted with this fact, we need to realize forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean that we (or God) think the offense wasn’t wrong, that we have to be reconciled and totally united with the person, etc. Those statements may seem silly, but I needed to know them. A major weight will be lifted off our shoulders as we forgive. Both parties will be released.

 

In the midst of grief, we need to seek God. He is the source of all we need. Since God is the God of All Comfort, He is in control of that comfort. He determines when and where and how and through whom it will come. It will come. He will make sure of that. But as usual, it’s not always when and where and how and through whom I might choose. We must surrender to His ways and means. Also, we need to seek all of HIM and not just what He will give. We need to come to the place where we can let go and surrender it all to Him.

 

We must continue to grow in contentment. That is going to be a key for us in this whole process. Grief is basically selfish because I am the one who hurts, the one who has died is much better off (if they are in heaven). So as we are content, we recognize God’s sovereign plan, that He is control and is giving us the best -- for all others and ourselves. Grief is normal, natural, and good. But when it carries on too long (no one but God knows how long that is for each one) grief begins to say, "God’s plans and ways are not good enough. I know better what is best for me and all others."

 

Matthew 6:33 and all that it entails is another key. God gives to each one a measure of time, money and energy. It is up to each one to seek Him first and allow all other priorities to fall into place as God directs. It is OK, even essential and good at times to say "NO!", when someone asks us do something. We're not to be selfish but we need to keep oue life prioritized and allow God time to heal the hurts in us. Good is the enemy of best. Phil. 1:6 says that God will complete the good work He has begun in me until the Day of Christ Jesus. Our job is to be in the right place -- not in the way, not too busy, not giving up, but doing and participating in what and where and when HE says.

 

We need to practice praying 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any wicked in me, and lead me in Your Everlasting Way. Only He can truly know our heart and what is wrong with us, what needs to be fixed. We will tend to excuse sin or condemn ourselves beyond what God Himself.

 

Lastly we need to focus on confessing the promises that concern our grief and all the stresses in our lives. We must realize that these feelings, while normal and natural, are not God’s highest for me. So, it is important to recognize them and let God comfort and renew us, but it is just as important to move on, as God empowers us. Sometimes it is easier -- more convenient -- to just ignore the issues and move on and not let God deal deep down inside us. We want to appear strong or 'with it' to others or even try to fool ourselves. Other times it is easier to stay in the mullygrubs and not move on in God’s time. We may not want to move on or we may appreciate the attention. Lord, teach us the balance.

 

See Also:

Don't Just Survive, THRIVE!, Faith - What It Is..., Godly Character,

Heart & Soul of a Warrior, Lord of the Breakthrough,

Promises From the Word of God, Push In!. The Importance of a Soft Heart