The Expository Files


Grief: Our Steady Unwelcomed Companion

Early in my life I knew grief only as a word. When my father died I was compelled by that loss to begin to know the meaning, though only in a limited way as a youngster. A few years later my first wife passed away, and that event brought me to another level of personal knowledge. Yet even now I cannot claim any expertise or proficiency. I usually cannot supply satisfactory answers about why bad things happen, but can only commend trust in God.

Seems like I always know people who are going through a loss, or there is some anticipated loss in my circle of friends and brethren. Thus, grief is our steady unwelcomed companion. There are perspectives that serve us well, though not remove the thing.

"Grief can be your servant," someone said. Without question, in our suffering we can learn compassion, find time to think more of our God, better appreciate the suffering of Christ, and perhaps grief can generate some gratitude for our present wellbeing. But saying all of this - in the moment of impact - doesn't help much.

Benjamin Disraeli said, "Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of grief, the blunder of a life." I think he is right. Embrace it for a time, speak your sorrow, but don't let grief become baggage you carry or pity you beg.

Another thing, earthly grief is preparatory: "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory behind all measure...," (2 Cor. 4:17)

By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 16.9; September 2009