Coping with Loss — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Coping with Loss — Morning Devotions

Emotions are gifts given to us by God. Denying our emotions is actually damaging our health and also our relationships with others.

By Chris WittsMonday 29 Jan 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Losing a much-loved pet is a traumatic time, especially if the animal has been part of the family for a long time.

Maybe you know what I mean. The kids might have grown up with that dog or cat, and due to old age or an accident, the pet has passed away. I know what that’s like, and maybe you do, too. We had a dog in our family for almost 15 years, and she had to be put down. It is an upsetting time, especially for children who feel the loss.

It’s ok to cry

Tears may flow, and that’s a good thing. But speaking generally, society has still got this attitude that tears are not appropriate, especially for men. Have you heard the slogan “Grown men don’t cry”? It’s often used, and many adults today really don’t know how to handle emotions such as grief and sorrow – something that we will all experience from time to time. Unfortunately, if you haven’t had that experience of grief or loss or sorrow, one day you certainly will.

Many of us have locked away our emotions. For whatever reason, we don’t want to see them come out or surface. We don’t feel safe, perhaps in expressing to anyone how we really feel. And so, as a result, we bury these feelings deep inside.

Emotions are a gift

Did you know that emotions are gifts given to us by God? And to deny our emotions is actually damaging our health and also our relationships with others? Someone described denying our emotions like playing a trombone with a stick slide.

The Bible tells us of a day when Jesus actually wept openly. He was quite unashamedly experiencing grief at the grave of his good friend. His name was Lazarus, and Jesus was not afraid to show how he felt.

Weep with those who weep

Romans 12:15 tells us to weep with those who weep. It’s all part of God’s good advice. So, think about the different emotions you have, and that he has given to you and me. For example, God gave laughter to express joy and words to express anger and tears to express sorrow. So why is it that we spend so much of our life denying these feelings?

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They are real, they’re legitimate. And I would say that crying is nature’s way to release much of the pain or the grief and the sorrow that we may have. So, if we face loss of some kind, there can be a sense of denial by saying, ‘Well, this just isn’t real. This couldn’t be happening to me. It’s like a bad dream!’ And that’s how our mind works sometimes. But we need to face the reality and realise that it’s OK to feel genuine hurt at that time of loss.

It’s important to give ourselves permission to cry rather than bottling it up. It’s only when we discharge what we call these painful emotions that we can clearly see the next step, and we can then pick up the pieces of our life and move forward in some way. This might take time, but it will happen if we’re open with our emotions now.

It’s ok to feel different emotions

In some societies, when someone close to them has died, people come together and grieve as a community for days on end. There can be feelings of loneliness after the death of a loved one or family member. We feel like we’re alone, and we might say, ‘Well, what’s there left to live for?’ It’s OK to feel like that for a while, but we can move on eventually. There are often feelings of guilt as well, ‘If only I had been there at the time – I could have done more.’

Feelings of anger can sometimes surface, asking ‘Why did God allow this to happen to me?’ Anger is a difficult emotion, sure, but it can be expressed in healthy ways. If it’s ignored or repressed, often full recovery is not possible, and you can end up sick or feeling depressed. So the best option is to talk to your Heavenly Father about how you feel. He won’t get upset with you. He knows how you feel.

Have a look at Psalm 109 sometime, and you’ll see here how David felt very strongly about some things.

So, remember it’s God’s will that you recover and grow as the person that God intended you to be.

Let’s pray

Heavenly Father, I pray that you’ll open our hearts and minds and help us to put into practise the things that you teach us. Lord, we don’t want to be guilty of telling others what to do and at the same time not following through what we need to do. Lord, we thank you for all the good things that you’ve given to us and help us, Lord, to cope in a realistic way with our losses, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.