Step Six: LEARN MY GOSPEL STORY by which God gives meaning to my experience.
Below is a video from the “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” seminar of The Summit Church (Durham, NC). For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.
NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. Summit members can pick up a copy of the notebook in the church office. For those outside the Summit family, you can request a copy from Amy LaBarr (email@example.com), office administrator over counseling.
“I have already told you how my loss shaped my life [review step 4]. Letting go of that story, identity, and set of beliefs left me with only God. It was good to begin rebuilding my life from that solid foundation. Now I am beginning to understand my life with God and the Gospel at the center [examples from previous list reinterpreted].”
Memorize: John 11:23-26 (ESV), “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “I know…last day” – What Martha believed about Jesus seemed very far off from where she was at the moment.
- “I am” – What Jesus offered Martha was Himself. There was no answer to give meaning to suffering outside Him.
- “Do you believe this?” – Our suffering story begins to be reinterpreted as we understand Jesus more fully.
- “I believe” – Martha was not resistant to believing, however her experience of grief continued… but with hope.
- “Who is coming” – Even in Jesus’ first coming his solution for grief was only “made sure” while not yet fulfilled.
“In so far as this record was a defense against total collapse, a safety valve, it has done some good… I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history (p. 68-9).” C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed
“Every time someone dies, it reminds those watching that God’s work is not yet complete. Because of sin, death entered the world. Only when sin is completely defeated will death cease to be part of the equation… As you weep, know this: the One who weeps with you is not content for things to stay as they are. His death was a cry and his resurrection a promise. The living Christ will continue to exert his power and you will grieve no more (p. 6).” Paul Tripp in Grief: Finding Hope Again
“Death is, in fact, what some modern people call ‘ambivalent.’ It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered (p. 125).” C.S. Lewis in Miracles.
“That is what I love about the Psalms. They put difficultly and hope together in the tension of hardship and grace that is the life of everyone this side of eternity. It is not hard to recognize the environment of the Psalms. The Psalms live in your city, on your street, in your family. The Psalms tell your story. It is a story of hope and disappointment, of need and provision, of fear and mystery, of struggle and rest, and of God’s boundless love and amazing grace (p. 7).” Paul Tripp in A Shelter in the Time of Storm.
“Why doesn’t God tell us more about heaven? The children in the workshop concluded, ‘It’s a surprise!’ We then talked about the surprise party He is preparing for all who love Him. Jason got his invitation earlier than the rest of us. But we are invited as long as we have Jesus in our hearts. He will let us know when it is our turn to come to the party (p. 30).” Judy Blore in “How to Help a Grieving Child” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Winter 1998).