There are no quick fixes to grief. Get used to it and embrace it. Settle in for a process and not an event. However, there are some key disciplines that promise to set a trajectory if you desire to endure and even thrive. Thriving through grief requires stubborn faithful endurance in three key disciplines.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Three key principles, or disciplines, stand as a light to aid you as you walk through grief. We must rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer.
We must rejoice in hope.
If you have been following my journey at all, you will know what I do not mean. I do not mean we are to rejoice callously or be happy about what has happened. We never rejoice at brokenness. We do not celebrate the effects of sin and the fall.
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19
We who are people of faith have eyes that see the eternal. There is a glorious day coming when all pain, suffering, tribulation, and all brokenness will be defeated. This fact of faith calls for rejoicing. And if you want to endure and even thrive through grief, rejoice in hope. If we cannot have hope in life’s most broken moments, we are among all people most to be pitied.
We must be patient in tribulation.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that grief puts you on a journey that is longer than you ever anticipated. The title of my blog, Facing Loss, is purposefully chosen to take note of this most important lesson. You cannot sidestep or divert your eyes from grief. You cannot ignore this journey. You must face the journey. You cannot hurry the journey of grief.
“Wishing has its place and working is ever commendable but waiting also has its rewards.” Vance Havner, Though I Walk Through the Valley
Patience reveals faith. Patience reveals dependence. Patience also reveals confidence in the strength and character of God. Don’t miss this—tribulation by definition will require patience on your part. Tribulation requires endurance. Patience is a virtue, and it is especially virtuous in tribulation.
We must be constant in prayer.
David Jeremiah claims, “Prayer is my Declaration of Dependence.” Always true, but especially true during grief, we are dependent even when we don’t know we are dependent. Turning to God is a discipline of faith, recognizing dependence. The more I understand my feeble nature, the more constant I will be in prayer.
“Difficulties and discouragements have sent us to our knees, and then we have been surprised by the advent of the Master in great power and blessing.” Theodore Cuyler, God’s Light on Dark Clouds
To be clear, prayer is not intended to change your circumstances but to change you in your circumstances. In fact, I must be constant in prayer so that I may rejoice in hope. Further, I must be constant in prayer so that I may be patient in tribulation.
These three keys for thriving in grief are simple, and yet they are difficult. They will prove to unlock instructions not to avoid grief but to thrive in grief. These three—rejoice, be patient, and be constant—are weighty and deliberate instructions. I have learned, grief is not for the faint of heart. However, if you will fight for joy based on the hope of the gospel, if you will endure patiently in the midst of whatever tribulation you face, and if you will press in under the wings of the Almighty in constant communion with him, you can thrive in grief.
“God’s comfort can keep the heart sweet and unhurt in the midst of the sorest trials, and bring the life through the darkest hours, shining in transfigured beauty.” J. R. Miller, The Ministry of Comfort