Little Tim is experiencing feelings he has never experienced in his life. He has fallen in love for the first time. The air has a sweet aroma and the colors all have a deeper hue. Then one day his world collapses. She asks one of her girlfriends to tell Tim that she wants to break up with him. In that moment the sun is covered by a blue moon and he has the classic song calls a total eclipse of the heart. Mom, trying to console him says, “Don’t worry, Tim, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Get back out there and find another girlfriend.” And so it begins.
The second way conventional wisdom says deal with your grief is to “replace your loss” while the Bible encourages us to first accept the reality of our situation.
When we try to replace our loss, what we’re really doing is trying to erase the memory of whatever was lost. A prime example of this is when someone goes through divorce and then turns around and too quickly remarries. The problem is that they’ve never really dealt with the pain and so they are hobbling into another relationship.
Coming to terms with the reality of loss is huge in recovering from pain. How can you be healed unless you know where it hurts?
King David was a great king, but at one point committed adultery with Bathsheba. She became pregnant, but because of David’s sin the baby died (A side note here: There is always death associated with sin. Romans 6:23) And so for seven days, David expressed his pain in loud wailings and moaning.
Then on the seventh day the baby died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He was so broken up about the baby being sick,” they said. “What will he do to himself when we tell him the child is dead?” But when David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the baby dead?” he asked.”Yes,” they replied. Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. Then he went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and ate. His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the baby was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the baby is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.” David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again?” 2 Samuel 12:18-23 [NLT]
David expressed his pain, but, then he accepted the reality.
Question – If you’ve suffered a major loss, have you tried to get a grip on the reality of it, to stare it right in the face and say, “this is the deal?” Or are you trying to just “get over it” or “get on with life?” It’s not that simple. It doesn’t work that way.