“Grief is Just Love With No Place to Go.”

Most people have probably heard this quote before… I’ve seen it posted many times and even had it said to me. And I mentally wince. Because this may be the case in some instances, it tends to stifle, minimize, and sometimes outright dismiss so many circumstances that can cause grief in our lives.

I understand the intent is to be comforting but this can impede those grieving outside of the loss of a loved one or in addition to it, and hinders healing, which is why I’m saying something.

Grief comes in many forms apart from death: 

  • Abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Addiction
  • Betrayal
  • Homelessness
  • Physical assault
  • Financial loss
  • Loss of safety
  • Incarceration/legal issues

And the list goes on. 

Grief is not limited to ‘love with nowhere to go’.

As God would have it, 43 days before we would learn that Mike’s cancer returned, I posted about grief. He knew I’d need reminded in the coming days and years and writing has always been my catharsis in sorting my thoughts…and how I love others.

As Augustine said, ‘I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.’ 

As well as, Michelangelo who said at the age of 87, ‘I am still learning.’

The words I shared back then still hold true, so I’m going to share them again because I’m healing and I want you to heal too, no matter the source of your grief…   

We’re not always perceptive at identifying grief in ourselves or one another. We don’t seem to speak of grief conspicuously. Perhaps it’s because we have gone to great lengths to avoid the reality of loss or its consequences. Perhaps it’s because we don’t recognize it since it’s not what we thought it would be – something we could navigate with a set of steps to follow through from a tidy beginning to end.

To the contrary, we discover that grief is a non-linear, disordered process. A process that comes with soul withering loss – death, divorce, economic devastation, a crushing diagnosis, a natural disaster, or relational betrayal, to name a few. Though our grief comes in many shapes and shades, it comes nonetheless, it’s part of God’s Providence.

If you are human, you will suffer loss and experience grief. There is a clarity that comes when grief is identified for what it is and attended to Biblically.

Grief is the natural response to loss and duress. And it takes time.

Though there are patterns to grief simply because we are human beings, yet, we aren’t to compare ourselves to one another since our sanctification is designed by God individually. The distinction for Christ followers is that we grieve differently than those without Hope. We have the comfort of the Lord Himself. For He is Immanuel, He is with us. And has wept with His people in their deepest woes. Like King David, God draws us to Himself when we are deeply distressed, crying out to the Lord through our anguished tears.

He has bore our burdens and will bear us up beneath them. 

“What we need most in the midst of grief is God Himself. He will meet us, give us Himself, fill the void left by our loved ones, warm our hearts, lift our burdens, and draw us into the sweet balm of fellowship with His Spirit. And as our Father tenderly swaddles us in His love, our love for Him will grow, our faith and trust will deepen, and even amid the heartache of grief we will praise Him with deep and true joy.” ~ Elizabeth Groves

God and His Word don’t diminish grief or its impact and we shouldn’t either. 

In our profound sorrows, a Biblical perspective is transformative and expectant. 

“Even in the rending ache of grief, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can hang on to Jesus and grieve with the hope that His death and resurrection bought for us.” ~ Elizabeth Groves

“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” {Micah 7:7}