Some believers are dismayed when well-intentioned fellow believers tell them that they shouldn’t need to grieve if they believe. However, this is a shortsighted view of faith. Genuine faith is honest faith and suppressing your feelings of despair, anger and pain is not healthy.
Faith can offer comfort but grief can bring about a faith crisis
Faith may offer a great sense of comfort when someone has lost a loved one. For many, their faith in God is what pulls them through times of tragedy, crisis and death. However, a loss can also cause believers to question their faith.
Believers may wonder why they are still experiencing such a deep sense of grief when someone they love is with God. It can bring about the worst faith crisis in their lives. This can happen to anyone and the journey through such a crisis can be long and hard.
Grief can release a torrent of emotions
When you lose someone you love, you go through a whole array of emotions – pain, fear, sadness, guilt and much more. You may truly believe that your loved one is in a better place but this does not take away the feelings of emptiness and loneliness that you may experience. Simple actions, like choosing a headstone that truly reflects the personality of your loved one at Memorials.com can bring a sense of comfort.
Watching someone suffer from a prolonged illness before death or facing the death of a loved one in a tragic car accident may cause feelings of anger towards God. In some situations, like the loss of a child, people may feel the faith they’ve always leaned on to fail them.
The five stages of grief
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross is well-known for writing about five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages are not experienced in a linear way – grief is messy and it’s hard to predict how you will feel from one day to the next.
However, experiencing all the different emotions and working through them helps you to reach acceptance. Everyone works through grief differently. Some may experience anger, more than any other emotions. Others may take longer to work through feelings of guilt.
Grief and faith aren’t incompatible
It is natural for human beings to feel grief. It doesn’t mean you’re being selfish or that you’ve lost your faith. It is still possible to believe in God and His greater plan and grieve the absence of someone you love.
Filter what others say
Other believers who feel that grief and faith are incompatible may judge and criticize you for feeling grief. Their comments can wound you deeply and make you feel that you’re failing.
Try to hear their concern if it’s genuine but ignore attempts to control the grief journey you’re on. Don’t let anyone else make you feel that your grief and your faith are incompatible.
The healing process can take time
Some people recover quicker than others but recovery takes its own time. You need to surround yourself with those who will give you the time you need to process your grief.
In some cultures, people are officially in mourning for a year, during which time they wear black and no-one asks them why they are sad. In other cultures, mourners are expected to turn the corner, get over it and return to being the person they used to be as quickly as possible.
You can’t hurry your grieving, and you can’t hurry through a faith crisis either. You need to take a deep breath and give yourself the time you need to heal.