We need to be prepared for grief

Published 1:10 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: As a social worker, I’ve been trained in grief management, which includes encouraging people to find comfort in a religious practice. My job is on the line because of my personal beliefs, but people can’t be truly helped until they come face-to-face with Jesus as their Lord, correct? – G.C.

Dear G.C.: Like soldiers going into battle, we need to be prepared for grief but the culture of today does not prepare us for it. What we need more than anything else during times of grief is a friend who stands with us, someone who will not leave us. Jesus is that friend.
The Lord prepares us to weather life’s storms. He tells us to have faith in Him. He has told us that He will be with us always and never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). Often it takes that “knife in our heart” to drive us to Him. Our faith is dependent upon God, and when we enter the valley of grief, we need His help or we will never overcome the sorrow that weighs us down.
Grief can kill a person emotionally and physically. If not counteracted with God’s strength and power, our personal weakness may debilitate us. An onslaught of grief can cause people to think they are losing their minds. The grief-stricken person can lose the ability to concentrate, which adds to his or her panic. This may lead, then, to emotional paralysis. Guilt, anger, resentment, and panic are some of the faces of grief. None of these reactions are abnormal.
Countless people have had religious experiences but only a personal relationship with Jesus through repentance of sin and receiving salvation is what brings comfort and joy to life. The Bible says to fill our minds with things that are true, honorable, pure, and lovely and “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NLT).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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