Mourning a Deceased or a Lost Loved One?
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How real, intense, and lingering is the pain of losing someone close to us! Maybe it is even worse to lose someone close to us while the person is still alive. The grieving process remain the same in either case.
Initially, we must face the shock which draws out all emotion, followed by denial, and the useless bargaining with God. Then follows the rending of our innermost being; disbelief, anger, guilt for not doing or being enough, depression, hopelessness, fear, and the indescribable loneliness and longing that never let go as we struggle to move forward. Grief has the power to be detrimental to us on every level of life as we realize we can never share a single moment with that person ever again.
Even animals can die of sorrow. It is common that a well-loved dog will decide it cannot live without its master; lie down on the grave and die. Often, humans, seeing no future, feel the same way when faced with the death of a loved one. Mostly, we do not realize that mourning a loved one is a complicated process that calls for patience, not just a few days of tears. No one will ever know how final death really is; how utterly disrupting the terrible loss, and for how long it gnaws at every fiber of our souls and our lives, until the day, when we must face this appalling reality.
Yet, in some Christian circles, some people are so ‘spiritual’ they do not have empathy with those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. They forget that in God’s humanity, Jesus, Who “became flesh” just like we are, “wept,” “groaned in the Spirit” and was “troubled” at the death of His disciple Lazarus, (Jn. 11:21-44.) It was not that Jesus, in His Divinity, did not know Lazarus had died, that He would miraculously resurrect Him, and how incredibly hard this awful loss hit Lazarus’ loved ones.
Jesus actually showed us, by His own example as a complete human Man, how we still have to deal with our griefs, losses, trials, and tribulations while we are here on earth. So, He commanded in Rom. 12:9-21, “…Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” And so, “carry one another’s burdens, [for] in this way you fulfil the [Moral Law] of Christ.”
Similarly, when Jesus had to go to the cross, in His humanity, He gave us the perfect example to show us that He was not the “macho man,” “mighty man,” or part of “the new breed of christs and gods” we experience in the churches today. He did not pretend to possess a so-called ‘superpower’ that ‘changed’ His frail humanity into that of an indestructible, unemotional ‘superman.’ While praying for Himself in His humanity, knowing what indescribable anguish and pain awaited Him at His trial, torture, and death on the cross, “He was in [such] agony [that] His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Additionally, when Jesus prayed to the Father in John Chapter 17, it was not because He was almighty God, praying to Himself. For our sake, He was setting the example of human dependence upon God by praying FOR Himself as a human, not TO Himself as God. And when He prayed for us, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world [so that they do not experience what I am experiencing,] but that You should keep them from the evil one,” He proved that we will not jump over the water and the fire, but He will be IN us and WITH us as we go through it all on our way to heaven.
“Keeping us from the evil one,” who preys on every spiritual, emotional, and physical need, (such as natural sorrow, fear, weakness, and hunger,) means that we must not make our own plans to avoid the pain, the sorrow, the loneliness, and everything that comes with being “human.” We must, sooner or later, face it all to “overcome it all by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony,” (Rev. 12:11.) The “word of our testimony” is that Jesus did it all for us in our place. Not to make us less human here on earth, but to “deliver us from the evil one,” who constantly pecks at our human emotions and needs, just as He did with Jesus in the wilderness, (Mt. 4:1-11.) Thus, we can only “overcome his wiles” “by the redemption through Jesus’ blood, [which is the complete] forgiveness of [all our] sins, according to the riches of His grace,” (Eph. 1:7-14.)
However, it is not God’s will that we will remain stuck in the darkness of grief. Jesus has “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” because we are not able to do it alone; just as He carried our sins on the cross, (Isa. 53:4-5.) It is, therefore, His will that we will “overcome” all sorrow in the power of the Holy Spirit. To “overcome” does not mean we will never cry again. It means the scar of sorrow will always be a reality, but by the grace of God, we will be able to step over the pain and loss to keep on “carrying our cross” while day-by-day, following Jesus to heaven, (Lu. 9:23.)
We need this Godly “closure” because we cannot allow the burden of sorrow and loss to engulf us, and to derail our lives here on earth. Jesus’ disciples do not have to “grieve as others who have no hope [of the resurrection.]” (1 Ths. 4:13.) God commanded in Lev. 29:28, “Do not cut yourself for the dead, [mutilate and do yourself physical, emotional, and spiritual harm,] and put tattoos on yourselves, [marks ingrained in your flesh to show allegiance to the dead, as the ancestor-worshipping pagans and others who worship the dead do.]” Nothing will ever bring back our loved ones on this side of the grave. Jesus explained in Lu. 16:19-31, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, that no deceased “human spirit” can contact those who are still living here on earth. Jesus is Eternal Life and the Resurrection of the dead. But until That glorious Day when He returns, the dead will remain dimensions apart from the living here on earth, (Eccl. 9:5-6.) They are gone. We mourn their departure – not for them but for ourselves, who must face life without them. The hard reality is that we cannot grieve forever. There comes a time to let go, get up, and move on.
If you have lost a spouse, know for certain that you are not married to that person anymore. The marriage covenant is just for our time on earth. The death of a spouse annuls the marriage covenant completely. In heaven, there are no married couples. Jesus said in Mt. 22:30, “[The spirits of all true believers in heaven] are like angels, [they do not become angels, who are a different species from humans,] who do not marry in heaven.” If you mourn a child, a brother, sister, parent, or friend, know that you cannot stay attached to them in any way. “The deceased knows nothing. Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6.) They are truly in ‘a better place,’ where they cannot hear you, and where they cannot cry, long for, or watch over anyone here on earth, because all these things on earth have passed away for them. We have the mighty, holy angels of God and the Almighty Holy Spirit to "watch over us." What's more, it is a lie that God and the angels cry in heaven. Rev. 21:4, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain, for the former things has [forever] passed away [when we reach heaven.]”
I believe, realizing this great Scriptural truth about our deceased loved ones, is a wonderful relief for those who grieve so deeply that they try to talk to them and keep them attached to them somehow. What a great comfort to know that they are completely free from all our pain, sorrow, loneliness, and other affliction on the earth. They are forever in the hands of Jesus. So, we must leave them where they are and, by the grace of God, bravely carry on without them. All we have are the memories of them, but those memories must not rob us of a new life, which God still has for us on the earth.
It is the living who needs us now; let us focus on ourselves and on them not on the dead, and above all, let us seek and do the will of our Father for the time we still have left here on earth. Let us stop speaking to the dead and futilely try to hold onto them like the pagans try to do. We have fixed our eyes on eternal life in heaven. Whether we will meet them again or not; that part of our lives is over. Let us now leave it all to God. Let us not grieve our Father in heaven by doing what the pagans do, who try to “call up the dead by consulting spiritists,” or talk to the dead as if they can hear us, or still care about us and what we are doing here on earth. God said in Deut. 18:11-13, “For all those who do these things are an abomination to the Lord…”
Grief is never a choice, but working constructively towards comfort and healing must be our decided choice. We can achieve this by God’s grace when we invest our emotions and time in seeking the joy and goodness, which will flow from all affliction, if we actively comfort and support others in need, (Rom. 8:28.) There is no greater healing in this world, besides the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit, than to look beyond your own ‘crosses’ to help others who have stumbled under the weight of their afflictions.
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