by Tyler Quillet
Grief. It’s a subject we don’t enjoy discussing. As men, especially, we tend to keep our emotions inward, not revealing the true sentiment of our hearts. And so, how do we lead our family well when we lose someone we love dearly? How do we, as husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends lead those we love through grief and loss as we grieve ourselves?
Before we go any further, I simply want to say that I’m sorry for your loss. Whether much time has passed or you are fresh in your grief, I know this is hard. This was never how it was supposed to be. God is good, He is faithful, and the victory is His. There are greater days ahead, I promise.
I want to share with you the words of Jeremiah as he pours out his broken heart in Lamentations 3:17-24:
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
Then I thought, “My future is lost, as well as my hope from the Lord.”
Remember my affliction and my homelessness, the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!
I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”
Did you catch it? There’s a word in there that changes everything.
It’s a shift in thinking. It’s taking a step forward in grief. Saying, “I’m lacking peace, I’m broken, my hope is wavering, I’m completely overwhelmed by this … yet …”
Yet, in the midst of all the hardship, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me. Because of Him, I have hope. His mercy for me is new each morning, so I can trust in and daily find my hope in Him. Basically, it’s coming to the place that says, “My circumstances stink, my heart hurts, but I know the truth and I’m going to cling to it!”
And so, when our hearts live in the “yet” mind-set, we are in a position to lead our loved ones well through the grief we are all experiencing. If I’m stuck living in the “I have no peace, I have no hope, etc.” mind-set, then I’m in no position to lead others in their grief. And please know that living in those first few verses is natural when grief hits. However, we can’t stay there.
As you grieve the loss of someone you love, if your wife, kids, family, and friends see you clinging to Jesus, it’s going to lead them to a deeper trust as well. If they see peace in you, it calms their hearts. If they watch you living out the hope you have in Jesus, they’ll be more inclined to seek that same hope. If you pray with them about the hurt you are all experiencing, you are leading them to the Throne. I cannot think of many ways you can bless your family more than to share your own brokenness with them while at the same time pointing them to Jesus and the hope you have in Him. And know that it’s OK to cry, it’s OK to remain silent at times, and it’s OK not to be “yourself.” You should outwardly grieve because it’s healthy. But, in your grieving process, don’t forget about the faithful love of the Lord. Remain in the “yet.”
Grief is hard. You aren’t going to move on from it, but you can move forward in the midst of it. Moving forward in grief and clinging to the hope you have in Jesus is leading your family well. God bless you as you live in the “yet.” He is faithful and He will give you and your family what you need to move forward as you cling ever so tightly to Him.