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Why Do We Experience Grief?

Aug 17, 2007
Everyone is familiar with feelings of grief. These feelings range from mild, momentary unhappiness to feelings of intense and acute emotional suffering that take a long time to heal. These feelings can be caused by disappointment, discouragement, frustration, trouble, difficulty, a sense of futility, deep regret or some specific loss, disaster, misfortune, accident, or mishap.

Grief is characterized by symptoms such as low spirits, feelings of unhappiness, discouragement, anger, brooding despondency, depression, and intense emotional anguish. Grief affects us in many different ways:

Physically: My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones.
Psalm 102:4-5 NIV

Mentally: "I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." Job 3:26

Emotionally: Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Lamentations 5:20 NIV
Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? Job 13:24 NIV

Spiritually: My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Psalm 6:3 NIV

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Psalm 22:1-2 NIV

Mourning is the expression of grief. It is the process in which we try to make sense of our pain and suffering and reconcile our past experiences, knowledge, faith and beliefs with what we're experiencing. It is looking for hope where there doesn't appear to be any.

It is the struggle to regain a sense of well-being after having our world, our lives, our minds and hearts turned upside down and inside out.

I believe that if we can reconcile our experiences of pain and sorrow, grief and mourning with our Creator and Savior's loving nature and purposes for our lives, that will bring healing and restoration to our whole person-body, soul and mind.

Why do we experience suffering and loss and death and all kinds of other hurtful things that cause us to grieve?

The most basic explanation is that God never intended for us to experience suffering or death. That may be why we react to them the way we do.

Disobedience and nonconformity to God's perfect standards introduced these painful things into the perfect world God made and the blessed lives He envisioned for us.

GOD said to the Woman, "What is this that you've done?"

"The serpent seduced me," she said, "and I ate."

GOD told the serpent: "Because you've done this, you're cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I'm declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He'll wound your head, you'll wound his heel."

He told the Woman: "I'll multiply your pains in childbirth; you'll give birth to your babies in pain. You'll want to please your husband, but he'll lord it over you."

He told the Man: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree That I commanded you not to eat from, 'Don't eat from this tree,' The very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground Will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you'll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you'll get your food the hard way, Planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, Until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you'll end up dirt." Genesis 3:13-19 MSG

How do we cope with events and experiences that bring on the unpleasant, painful, sometimes debilitating emotions of grief?

We begin by simply trusting God's good name and holy character, that His intentions for us are always good.

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9 NIV

Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. Lamentations 3:32-33 NLT

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 NIV

We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are ones God has chosen for his purpose, Romans 8:28 CEV

Then we cling to God's promise that one day He will release us from pain and suffering when He restores us and the rest of His creation to His original design and purpose.

Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Romans 8:20-23 NLT

Remember your promise to me, for it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. Psalm 119:49-50 NLT
About the Author
Sharon Young is a dedicated mom and wife with a deep desire to discover who God is and how to navigate this life guided by His truth.

Mourning Glory - A Devotional for Grieving is a book for those struggling through a loss and looking for support and comfort, http://www.amourningdevotional.com
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