Welcome to Episode #58 of Preparing for the Inevitable – A Podcast on How to Handle Trouble, Suffering, Pain, and Death.
I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death. Trouble, suffering, and death are common threads that run throughout all of humanity. They are inescapable. You will never meet a person who has not, is not, or will not experience these terrible things in life. Yet, we attempt to hide from these inevitabilities, to pretend they don’t exist or that they won’t happen to us. Our world is filled with news of people dying, children suffering, entire government systems and organizations enduring trouble and turmoil, but we tend to see these as things that only happen to “other people” and never to us. Trouble, suffering, and death come equally to all people, of all races, from every socio-economic status, of every religion, in every country of the world. It makes us all equal. This podcast will show you how to accept these realities of life, and not just cope, but face trouble, suffering, and death in your own life and in the world with confidence, courage, class, and most of all, with faith, hope, and charity.
The Bible says in Psalm 31:9-10: “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.”
The featured quote for this episode is from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She said, “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
Our topic for today is titled “Grief and Mourning, Part 10: Beyond Grief” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.
As surely and certainly as we hope in the resurrection of the dead, that is not the only reason Christians are to mourn differently than those who do not believe in a Savior who will redeem their bodies. As theologian and bishop of Durham N. T. Wright makes clear over and over again, the world to come is not completely separate from this one. Indeed, Jesus lives in a resurrected body even now. And the life of the God who raised Jesus from the dead lives within the Christian. So, while we wait for death’s final defeat, the beginning of that defeat in our own life begins in our salvation. In our journey through life—and through dying and death—we can find joy for we have a sure and certain hope in the redemption of our bodies. Second, we have access in this life to the power of the resurrection that gives us comfort from our grief.
As C. S. Lewis recovered from the devastation that followed his wife’s death, he began to think differently about how he should have mourned her. His journal, which became the book A Grief Observed, had been chiefly about himself, he said, then his wife, and finally about God. “In that order,” he wrote. And that order was the inverse of what it should have been. Never, he wrote, did he begin to praise either Joy or God. Yet, Lewis says, “Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it….Don’t we in praise somehow enjoy what we praise, however far we are from it?”
It is no easy task to move from the shock, anger and depression of the beginning of grief to the joy and praise that, with God, we can experience. Of course joy and praise can exist alongside ongoing pain and yearning for the departed beloved. As Walter Wangerin Jr. [WAN-GER-IN], a Lutheran pastor, writes, “even the weeping at weddings, is grief. When we die, we grieve.”
Death, Wangerin [WAN-GER-IN] says, is the breaking of any relationship. The first death was the Fall. And throughout our lives we die all kinds of small deaths. And we learn to grieve. We grieve at the ending of the relationship with our childhood sweetheart, when we leave home, as our children grow up, when our parents can no longer care for themselves. If we don’t resist the grief, we will find healing in the pain. “Grief is the grace of God within us, the natural process of recovery for those who have suffered death,” Wangerin [WAN-GER-IN] writes.
This is the essence of the gospel: Jesus brought God to humans, repairing the death of the Fall; and Jesus, rising from the dead, brought humans to God, ending the grief caused by the pain of our separation from God. If this good news means something more than hope in the by-and-by, if it means something right now, it means that God is with us in our grief and able to redeem it too.
Christianity does not shrink from death. It does not force a smile on the grieving. Christianity does not ignore death or say that it means nothing. Death is the last enemy, says Paul. It is evil, the greatest and most complete of evils. And if Christians are to know the greatness of Jesus Christ’s victory over death, they must know that death is evil.
Joy and sorrow, writes Wangerin [WAN-GER-IN], are not opposites. “It is through sorrow that one discovers a calm, abiding, indestructible joy.” Our faith offers us this paradox, that a seed must fall into the ground and die before it produces fruit. “Death leads to life,” says Wangerin [WAN-GER-IN], “And grief is the road between them.” Mourning, aided by the rituals of a church community, allows those who are swallowed by grief to slowly journey along that road.
If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at “Grief and Mourning” in our next podcast.
Let’s Pray —
Dear friend, please understand that after you die, you will be ushered into one of two places to spend eternity, Heaven or Hell. Here’s how you can be sure that you will not go to hell and suffer eternal damnation forever and rather have a home in Heaven when you die. The Bible says, ”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Here’s how you can be saved from sin and hell and have a home in Heaven when you die in more detail.
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”