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"Friends Don't Let Friends Grieve Alone"

"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."


John 15:15


One of the many lessons we can glean from studying the life of Job is how to grieve, as if there is a right or a wrong way. Job teaches us to not "stuff" our pain but to instead to be honest about it, allowing ourselves ample time to grieve properly, yes properly, when dealing with death and loss that not only touches us all, but if shared, actually binds us together, first, to God and then to others. When Job's world falls apart the first thing he does is turn to God. Job 1:20-22 tells us how Job responded to his loss. "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong."

Loss is a part of life and though the nature of loss is sin, not all loss is due to our own sin as Job's life will attest. The origin of sin is due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who through their disobedience to God ushered into the world sin and death and with death, loss of every sort. All of our lives are touched by death and loss tracing all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Every single person who has ever walked the face of this earth has suffered the ultimate loss, the death of family and friends. What we don't have to do when suffering loss, is suffering alone. In Job chapter 2 we read how Job's friends responded to the news of their friends devastating losses, "Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place--Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great." (Job 2:11-13).

I remember the first time I read the statement below as one friend recalled the emptiness he felt at the death of his best friend after his tragic backpacking accident and as I read his recollection of the event I was reminded of the love that existed between King David and Jonathan that we read of in 1 Samuel. David was to become king and Jonathan was the son and heir apparent to the throne of Israel, yet, each had a tender heart for the other and shared it openly. 1 Samuel 18:1 paints a picture in our minds thats easy to see, "Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." True friendships like these grow deep and the pain we feel when they end are almost beyond words. I have always been awed by the transparency of the love of David and Jonathan and I have felt that pain David speaks of upon hearing the news of the death of his dear friend. 2 Samuel 1:26 expresses David's raw emotion in poetic fashion, "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women."

Those words of David reminded me of those shared in a book I read years ago where the author wrote about his writing partner and best friend who had been killed in a hiking accident. He chose to not grieve alone and through writing he found comfort for himself and by sharing his experience has brought that same comfort to countless others. Its so true, friends don't let friends grieve alone. The author wrote, "I lost the truest friend I have ever known. I lost more than a partner, I lost the rarest of gifts to me, my friend whose heart saw what mine saw and knew what mine knew. Our friendship was a shared journey, a mutual quest, for the secret of our souls. It took us into the mountains, to the beach, through the desert, into literature. Our friendship took us into the deepest battle raging all around for our hearts and the hearts of those we love. We laughed and cried, we grieved and scorned and yearned and rejoiced all along the way. There is a hole in my world now, a perspective so rare and so precious to me that is now gone. Nobody saw what my friend saw, knew what my friend knew, and remembers what my friend remembers or loved what my friend loved. Questions I have can never now get answers. My world is an emptier place."

That last sentence slaughters me every time I read it, "My world is an emptier place" I picture this man standing on the edge of a vast valley and yelling out his friends name, no, screaming at the top of his lungs that name and then standing there alone and hearing the echo of that lone voice travel out over the expanse for what seems like an eternity as it fades off into oblivion without any response. Do you know that kind of pain, loved one, do you know that sort of emptiness in the pit of your soul? If so, just know you are not alone. I imagine God the Father and God the Son both know the kind of pain and emptiness that the separation at death brings about as when Jesus Christ bore the sin and guilt of the world on Calvary's Cross when He died in our place He was cut off from the Father for the first and only time in all eternity.

Like in the story of Job, "Friends don't let friends grieve alone." Just as Job came to know, the true test of any friendship is discovered in the darkest moments of life when your own life is suddenly and completely shattered and seemingly, everyone walks away leaving you feeling lost and alone. And then, suddenly almost out of nowhere through the tears you see the shadow of one, maybe two, possibly three coming to you and without a word, they sit beside you, loving you with their presence without speaking a single word. Oh to know the comfort of friends. Don't worry about what to say when someone you care about suffers the loss of a loved one, just being there for them speaks volumes. Remember, friends don't let friends grieve alone.


"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

James 1:27


I LOVE YOU!


"No Regrests"
"Trophies of Grace"
 

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Monday, 10 December 2018