Good Grief: Post Mortem

2000 3

Pictured here are our three kids in 2000 -- Christy, David, and our Russian daughter Yuliya.The response to this series has been wonderful and heartfelt, and so I thought I would share a few thoughts about where I am now, three plus weeks out. Grief counselors talk a lot about reaching a stage of acceptance.  But that word can mean many things.  Acceptance of what?    Acceptance that your daughter is dead?  Well, Ann and I accepted the fact that that was true almost from the beginning, once … [Read more...]

Good Grief— The Way of Grace

1979 2

I am an inveterate movie watcher and reviewer, but I must confess for reasons I don’t fully understand, I had put off seeing the movie ‘The Tree of Life’ until now. It is a singular providence of God, as Mr. Wesley would call it, that I did so, for it is a profound reflection on not only the meaning of life, but on what it means to lose a beloved child to sudden, unexpected death.The movie begins with a famous quotation from Job 38 where God asks Job where were you when creation happe … [Read more...]

Good Grief– Soundings Eight (on Praying)

1999 7

 Many books and persons have spoken to the fact that they have had a difficult time praying after they had a devastating loss of a loved one.  I must confess this has not been my experience thus far, but it is worth talking about. My constant prayer is simply a thank you to the Lord, not for what happened to Christy, but for the blessing she was to me and my family and so many others.   Most mornings when I wake up these days, I just thank the Lord for Christy even existing … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Seven – Wisdom for Consoling

1989

One of the most obvious things that happens to a person in deep grief is that they become hyper-sensitive, even to things that previously never bothered them.   Sounds in the night.  Sudden winds whipping up.  Or thunder and lightning, a child crying out in the neighborhood, an unexpected phone call, more difficulty than usual fixing something or getting somewhere -- all this and much more can set the person off in a retrograde motion, or make them unexpectedly angry or short tempered. But th … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Six – The Ante-Chamber to Eternity

2005 4

I must first admit that what I am about to share is only a small part of the answer to one of life’s great mysteries.   Keep in mind throughout this post the notion "life is not too short, when its everlasting!"Sometimes people rant and rave at God when their children die young, or when a loved one is suddenly taken away.  They think God must be cruel, indifferent, or non-existent.  None of these things is true, but usually these reactions are grounded in a false baseline assumption -- namel … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Five – We Have No Right to Life

1986 2

(Please ignore the man in the moustache. That's our Christy on the right side of the picture and David on the left at our beloved Cherry Grove Beach).“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."  Okay...but when will they truly be comforted?  The more closely you study the Beatitudes, the more you realize that Jesus is talking about eschatological consolation, not comfort here and now.  This becomes clear from the final clauses in some of the other Beatitudes—such as “for they s … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Four – Let Yourself Grieve

1997 2

People wrote us from all over the world.   There were cards, emails, Facebook posts, actual letters, phone calls, and people showed up too.  One friend flew in all the way from Waco, and left immediately after the service.  All told, it appears we had upwards of 600-700 attempts at communication of solace and love.  More than anything we appreciated the love that was behind all of this, and of course the prayers, though, since I don’t believe prayers for the dead accomplish much, I was glad that … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Three – The Hope of the Grieving

1997 a

 For some people the phrase good grief, if not immediately associated with the classic Peanuts cartoon strips, seems something of an oxymoron.   What can be good about grieving a departed loved one?    In the first place, there is such a thing as bad grief, inconsolable grief,  grief that consumes the griever, or grieving without hope. The Bible doesn't commend or command that sort of grieving.Paul discusses good and bad grief in 1 Corinthians 15.  He tells us that grieving is both … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Two – Five Things Not to Say to the Grieving

1997 a

When a person suffers the devastating loss of a loved one, you should -- however well-intentioned you might be -- keep your mouth shut.  Or at the very least, you should think long and hard before you say anything.  Here are some of the things I recently heard that did not help, and frankly were not true.1)  "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away." Not a saying from God, rather it’s from the poorly-informed Job, who was later forced to revise his opinion.  As it happens, it was Satan who dev … [Read more...]


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