Since death pierces every mortal, it is necessary for all of us to learn how to handle bereavement. We all lose loved ones. I have watched--with great admiration and respect--the courage that has borne many a saint through hours of sorrow. Here is some of the practical advice I have seen others use in dealing with grief:
1. EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS.
Since Jesus wept, it should not be considered a Christian virtue to be unmoved by the loss of a loved one. Of course, there is a difference between suppressing one's emotions and losing one's self-control. The Bible does not say, "Do not sorrow," but it does instruct us not to sorrow as those "who have no hope" (I Thess. 4:13).
2. SEEK THE AID OF YOUR FRIENDS.
The very presence of friends is an encouragement. When Paul neared Rome (as a prisoner), the brethren came to meet him, and "he thanked God and took courage" (Acts 28:15).
3. COMPEL YOURSELF TO BE WITH PEOPLE.
Your inclination may be to retreat into the refuge of privacy, but there is a greater need than one realizes to associate with others. Although David chose to be alone while his child was deathly ill, he did not continue to isolate himself after the passing of the child (II Sam. 12:15-23).
4. EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS IN WORDS.
Talking about it will help you accept it. If this is done at the outset of bereavement, one will sooner be able to stabilize his life.
5. AVAIL YOURSELF OF SPIRITUAL RESOURCES.
Even though you may not have realized the importance of the Scriptures and their comfort, they can be a great help in building your faith. The power of prayer and the peace of God are very precious possessions.
6. DON'T BROOD OVER WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.
Both Mary and Martha said - "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:21,32). It is not productive to wonder or speculate about the "what ifs" pertaining to those who have passed away. We, unlike Jesus, cannot raise the dead. It is wise, of course, to learn from our mistakes, but the past cannot be changed.
7. ACTIVELY PURSUE WORTHWHILE TASKS.
Once the initial shock has been dealt with, get busy at other things. Resolve like Paul to reach "forward to those things which are ahead" (Phil. 3:13).
8. MAKE CAREFUL, THOUGHTFUL DECISIONS.
Many an individual jumps hastily into deciding the full scope of the future rather than waiting until he has regained a proper perspective of life. Don't get in a hurry. Make prayerful decisions.
9. INCREASE YOUR TRUST IN GOD.
Those who have come through their sorrows with a deeper faith can verify that God, who rules over all, truly does make all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28).
After the crisis of grief, you can serve more fully and sympathize more completely with others. With Paul, you too can thank God for the comfort received in knowing that it has now given you the ability to comfort others who are in any trouble.