How many of you love roller coasters? The reality is that roller coasters can be a lot of fun to ride at the amusement park, but if your life is a roller coaster it bites. When it comes from moving from wounded to wonderful we need to go deep into the valley today and talk about loss so that we can start to climb back to a better life.
Most people have learned how to mask loss, cloak it, hide it, and set it aside, but most of us have never let the love of Christ into that specific area of loss in our life so we remain wounded in that area. If you don’t learn how to process the loss you will never make progress into God’s preferred future for you because you are stuck.
When I was 13 my grandfather died. Several of my best friends have moved out of state in the past few years and I miss them. I have mourned hopes and dreams which never happened or died before they developed. What sadness, grief, sorrow and loss have you experienced? There is an emotional cost to every loss and every loss is different. If we never acknowledge the pain we feel we will become numb to life itself. I want to help you move from loss to life, from sorrow to joy, from hurt to healing. There are four insights that will help us move through a painful loss so that we can experience a fulfilling present.
First, give yourself permission to grieve. In John 11, Mary and Martha grieved Lazarus’s death. In the same way, we need to give ourselves permission to grieve loss. The reality is that if you never allow yourself to embrace your own feelings then you will never be able to experience true connection with God and others. Love, joy, grief, and sadness are all God-given emotions.
Second, surrender the sadness to Jesus. When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany after Lazarus had died, Mary was crushed and said “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Even in her pain, she was transparent with Jesus. After Martha tells Jesus that she wished he had come earlier she affirms her faith that Jesus is the Messiah in the middle of her misery.
Third, allow the Holy Spirit to work in the wound. Jesus, Martha, Mary, and others all went to Lazarus’s tomb to grieve. Seeing his friends Mary and Martha broken hearted broke Jesus heart too. He wept. In the same way, we need to spend time with Jesus grieving and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the wound. Spend time in prayer talking to God about it. Read the Psalms and if a passage sticks out to you, pause and talk to God about it because it is reminding me of something that still hurts. We can also let God work in the wound by being transparent with a few good friends. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you. Find a friend who will just be present with you and cry with you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself physically Stay fit, eat right, get enough sleep. These habits will help you mentally as you grieve.
Once you give yourself permission to grieve, surrender the sadness to Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the wound you will be ready to move into the fourth insight: embrace the hope that God has for you. Many people witnessed Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead and put their faith and trust in Jesus. In the same way if you believe, God will resurrect your hope even after a significant loss.
Ultimately, we have hope for our present circumstances and the promise and assurance of the resurrection. But until that day comes, we cling onto the hope God gives us here and now. With God’s help you can move from wounded to wonderful. That you can move from loss to life, from death to healing, from sadness to joy. I believe that God is present in your life right now. My friends, will you let God’s grace fill the gaps in your life suffered from loss? You can experience new life after painful loss by faith and the grace of God.