It is hard to see any positive in the midst of a loss, especially when it is sudden and of a very deep nature. All we can see at the moment is a void without limits and inescapable pain. Worse yet, it may be accompanied by no explanation and no possibility of discovering one.
Yet God often does something for us at these moments. He protects our minds from the full force of the loss until we are able to begin processing it. The label we give to this mechanism is “shock” – a blunting or shutting down of our senses until some future time.
For those of us who will allow Him to, He also comforts us with a supernatural comfort. He does this directly through His Spirit and through friends and family that will gather around and share the burden and grieve with us.
No, it does not replace the loss, but it does give us a more solid footing in which to withstand the storm in us and around us.
Those of us who have suffered a great loss understand this and are grateful for the temporary relief from the unthinkable and the unbearable. Only in time can we understand that we can and will recover and once again experience normalcy in our life.
What can we do if we are the one experiencing the loss?
Don’t try to figure things out at the moment and make sense of them. Don’t try to predict or control your own reactions, but allow the process to carry you along wherever it might go. Some people react to crises very emotionally whereas others will respond much more stoically. There is no right or wrong here.
It is possible that eventually the emotions will have to be contained or expressed, depending on your temperament. But I do want to repeat: eventually.
What if you are the friend of someone experiencing a loss?
First, consider it a privilege to walk with someone through grief. It means that you are trusted and safe. The most helpful thing you can do is remain faithful. Do not isolate yourself from the person because the pain is so tangible and uncomfortable. Yes, you will feel it and be affected. That part is inescapable. But it is also what you are called to do by God. But I assure you that God will give you the grace to bear up under it.
Galatians 6:2 — Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Romans 12:15 — Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.