During this Eastertide season, the time between Easter and Pentecost, I am re-using a Lenten study book titled 40 Days to Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole. This marks the third year I have read and studied it. The following entry is the result of thoughts I experienced last year.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, Matthew 14:22-23 (ESV)
Jesus heard of John’s cruel death. He “withdrew to a solitary place in order to pray, reflect, and grieve. People found Him anyway. He showed his compassion for them. Our Lord preached and healed those who requested it. Then, He sent his disciples on ahead and retreated back to solitude again.
I have heard and read that our modern world chooses not to honor grief. As I observed people when I grew up, I saw people act “back to normal” the next day after a funeral of a family member or someone close to them. The idea of grief being a personal issue escaped my youthful mind and heart.
In old movies set in the 19th Century, a woman was expected to wear black clothes for one year. This, to me, seemed to be for public show.
In my research on grief, I have discovered experts have divided the grief process into at least five, and as many as ten steps. An interesting fact is these experts cannot tell us how long a person will spend in each step or in what order one experiences them.
As I read about Jesus’ seeking solitude, not once but twice, tears came to my eyes. I know that I have not been allowed to grieve certain losses from my family at the time of the losses. However, eventually, I have gone through the process each time.
Some points about grief:
1.) Grief is an emotion that has to be dealt with.
2.) It is personal. No two people grieve in the same way.
3.) It takes time to get through the process.
4.) We who believe in Christ are not to grieve as one who has no hope.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13, ESV)
5.) Each of us will experience grief each time we lose a friend or a loved one to death.