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“The promise is not that he will remove us from the experience of suffering. No, the promise is that God will be with us, walking beside us in it.” – Timothy J. Keller, “Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering”
Greif is not simple but is a process of emotions we will all encounter at some time in our lives. Currently, at Water Street Mission, we have experienced the loss of many different individuals in our community. This lose has propelled our campus to experience grief, especially for the volunteers, staff, and residents who loved and lived with these individuals.
As Americans, we can easily have this idea that work and life are separate and that when we are at work our sole focus is the completion of our tasks. But what happens when you experience grief in the workplace? How do you move through that process? It is easy to set aside our emotions in the pursuit of being the “best” workers we can be. But this isn’t what God calls us to.
As a ministry, as believers in Christ, as human beings, we are going to constantly encounter trials and triumphs. When your job requires you to walk alongside people who are at their lowest, grief is almost inevitable. You are there for them when they succeed and you are there for them when they fail. We become part of their story as they work towards restoration, so when a tragedy happens it hits us at our core. When grief enters into our lives we must walk through the process, feel the emotions and be authentic in the way we communicate our grief. As Timothy J. Keller states, “God does not say, “If you go through the fire” and flood and dark valleys but when you go. The promise is not that he will remove us from the experience of suffering. No, the promise is that God will be with us, walking beside us in it.” God knows the grief we are experiencing and we need to be honest about the sorrow we are feeling. When we lose someone we love and have walked alongside on their restoration journey, it’s especially hard to see their life end. Grief is painful and a process, but God promises to walk alongside us as we process through the pain and sorrow we are feeling.
We pray that as we experience grief we will find the courage to feel all that that entails. That we will reach for the community that surrounds us and find support and encouragement. As Jesus said to the crowd, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” God sees us in our grief, in our mourning, in our broken hearts. Take the time to feel, take the time to process, take the time to heal.