As a pastor I deal many times with encouraging and supporting people who have lost loved ones.
The Bible tells us in Romans 12:15 this: Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
I truly can say I was very sincere when I would weep with those who were weeping over the loss of a loved one.
After my first wife went home to be with the Lord in 1992 I could truly say to people, I understand what you are going through.
I would like to share with all of you over the next few weeks a paper I wrote when I was in college dealing with grief and comfort.
In literature class we had to read many books written by C.S. Lewis. After reading each book we were required to write a paper about the book.
After reading his book titled “A Grief Observed”, I wrote the following paper that I hope might be helpful to both pastors and layman alike. Hope you enjoy.
Since I have experienced the loss of a wife, I can relate to the grief and agony that Lewis shares with the world in his book. The length of the marriage does not make it easier to explain or understand the great feeling of emptiness. My marriage lasted thirty years and eight months. Lewis’s marriage was considerably less in length but his grief just as strong.
In this book by C.S. Lewis there are one hundred twenty questions, if my count is correct. Some have no expected answer. Some he answers himself, and some only God can answer, but it seems to man never to be clear. More than a few questions have answers found in the Bible.
The first questions that stand out to an individual are found on page four. Lewis’s questions are: “What does it matter now whether my cheek is rough or smooth?” “Meanwhile, where is God?”
These two questions, or ones like them, always come up first and are connected. After the death of a mate there is a great feeling of emptiness and loneliness that is hard to explain. Your heart is broken and your body aches from all the sobbing. The world seems so big and empty but yet feels at times like it is closing in on you. You know you need to eat but you are not really hungry. It does not really matter If you shave today or not. You are alone and there is no one near to touch you or to be touched and even God, who is invisible in the first place, seems further away. One page later Lewis makes it clear he still believes in God, he just has questions. The loneliness makes one ask the question found on page six: “But then why does He seem so present when, to put it quite frankly, we don’t ask for Him?”
Lewis tells us that he noticed people really want to say something to him but they did not know if they should or just smile and move on by. The truth is there are times you can talk about the loss and times you cannot and other times when you would rather not even hear about it from others. All he could really muster were a lot of sobs which made conversation impossible.