I found this sad prayer request in the comments section of our YouTube channel:
I’m very depressed and so on, my wonderful mother passed in March (months ago). I’m dealing with a lot of bad thoughts and negativity in me that you can imagine. I don’t find peace. Please pray for me. I feel lost and alone. My mother was the best, so much better than me. Thank you.
So I found something I had already written on the subject of grief, gave it a short introduction, and used it to reply:
My heart breaks for you, but I am going to get to the point very quickly and share with you how I deal with grief. I have shared these thoughts with other people, and the principle has worked for them.
The human mind is incredibly complex. I am not sure of the difference between the mind and the soul, but I do know that my thoughts often go into directions that I (my soul) don’t want them to go. I’m not just talking about the sins of lust, bitterness, gossip, and unbelief that often invade my mind without invitation, I’m talking about the issue of grief.
A few years ago I lost my beloved mom and dad. I wept uncontrollably at their loss, and then I determined never to go down Grief Street again. When I get emotional thoughts about my mom and dad and feel a heaviness come with them that is almost unbearable, I shake it off and bring my thoughts into captivity. I have done my crying. I have grieved. It is over. I will not go down that road again because it overwhelms me.
I don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt with this, and I have told my wife that when I go to be with the Lord she is to do the same thing. I would not like my death to bring unhappiness to the ones I love.
So Grief Street is totally out of bounds, because it is a dead end.
My advice would be to discipline yourself to say, “I will not go there. Ever. If I can do it with lust, gossip, bitterness and unbelief, I can (with God’s help) retain my joy—which according to scripture is my strength.”
This attitude, which some could see as flippant and shallow, has a biblical basis:
And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!”
When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?”
And they said, “He is dead.”
So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:16-23, NKJV)
May I reach out a loving hand and gently encourage you to get up from the ground of grief, wash and anoint yourself daily in God’s Word, and change your clothes. Take off the garment of heaviness and replace it with the garment of praise. Give God the sacrifice of worship as did David. Weep for a moment, process your grief, and then refuse to go back there.
No one seems to know why we say the words “good grief!” Some say it is a euphemism (blasphemy) for “good God.” Whatever the case, grief is not good. It is pain of the soul. The quicker it leaves, the better. So here are some practical things you can do to show grief the door.
The battleground is your mind. So busy it with other things. Plant so many plants in the garden, that there’s no room for weeds. Weeds don’t do anything but soak up the soil’s energy. Grieving about past events doesn’t do any good. It just sucks up your energy. It saps tomorrow from today.
You are a soldier of Christ. Bring your thoughts into captivity and put your eyes on the real battle. People are going to Hell. What are you doing about it? Don’t look to the past when the Bible says to forget it. Instead, press on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Use the past as a footstool to face the future. Stand on top of it. Overcome it and busy yourself in the task of evangelism. Busy yourself in good works. Busy yourself in the Word and prayer. Busy yourself in helping those around you with the comfort with which God has comforted you. Don’t let the enemy have another moment of your time. It is precious.