Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Lucy said it to Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown also said it to himself—all the time. “GOOD GRIEF.” Which begs the question: “CAN GRIEF EVER BE GOOD?” The answer is: Yes, absolutely! But only if we learn how to grieve in a way described in the scriptures.
Grief is basically PAINFUL SADNESS. We all experience sadness, the issue is a matter of degree. I may be sad when my favorite team loses a crucial game. Bummer. But I really don’t grieve about it. I get over it. “Wait till next year,” that was the rallying cry of Brooklyn Dodger fans in the 1950s. But if any fan needs counseling or electro-shock therapy for long-term grief about a team losing, well, the clinical term for that disorder is: “NUTS!” There are three important words to consider when life becomes painfully sad because of a loss or some near equivalent trauma:
CLEAN. Dealing with grief effectively begins with getting things right with God. We may not equate the idea of confessing our sins (I John 1:9) with moments of grief, but if there’s anytime we need to purify our hearts it’s when we are sad. Which leads us to the next word...
CLEAR. When we are painfully sad, we need to be thinking clearly. It’s easy to slide into thoughts that are exaggerated and distorted. Grief must be tempered with DISCERNMENT. And Jesus reminded us that CLARITY is directly related to PURITY (Matthew 5:8). Being CLEAN and CLEAR will lead us to the next key word...
CLOSE. This is when we have repaired our walk with the Lord and have rekindled the kind of intimacy with God that floods us with strength even when walking through the “valley of the shadow of death.”
Are there areas in my life I have not surrendered to the Lord?
Do I seem to find myself far too often in a spiritual fog?
If I feel far from God, did He move, or have I?