Title: Grief: It’s Not About a Process; It’s About The Person
Randolph, Paul. Grief: It’s Not About a Process; It’s About The Person: The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Winter 2005.
This article summary deliberates on the synoptic view on the sovereignty of God in the process of grieving. It outlines the purpose of the article explained in His (God) sovereignty, the current approach using the Kubler-Ross’s theory and the elaborated theological rational, grief as being personal, the person of grief, and the reality concerning the grieving process. In the conclusion, God is portrayed as the mean of the solution to the grieving person problem and the writer personal experience followed by recommendations.
The writer presents this article to delineate on God’s sovereignty and to explain and to substantiate the sufficiency of God’s grace and His incomprehensible sovereignty in the grieving episodes of mankind; even though, the grieving individual may not understand the reason and nature of the incidence; however, he or she should depend on God because no one under the sun is exempted from grieving. Humankind in general is grieving everyday; however, the weight of the grieving varies with human circumstances. No one understands why a committed and loving believer can suffer from an illness for the rest of his or her life. The writer gives real life experience about an incidence he experienced as a pastor in the ministry. He states,
“Let me describe two situations I faced as a pastor. First, imagine yourself as the parent of a vibrant young woman whose life was gradually taken away from her by multiple sclerosis. In her high school years, she was active in the church youth group and young life. She went off to college, and then later married. After a difficult divorce, she found herself stricken with this crippling disease. Eventually she became bedridden and unable to talk. Her parents took her in and cared for her, day in, day out, year after year. They learned to clean her, fed her through a feeding tube, and turned her to prevent bedsores. Much of their retirement plans and savings went into her care. Imagine the range of thoughts and emotions these parents must have experienced.” (Randolph, pp. 14).
No one understands how this lady experienced such a suffering for years despite of her Christian commitment. How could God who has the ability to deliver and to heal, could not heal her based on her Christian commitment and service? I am speaking as a man to qualify her based on her church going. Realistically, it is God who qualifies people depending on virtues and services. What we do not understand in this situation as it pertains to our beloved sister is the sovereignty of God which is beyond our comprehension and interrogation.
The writer starts to point out how the current cultures understand and treat people who are grieving and admits that as a young pastor after having read the Kubler-roses’s material, which discusses the stages of the grieving process, he got interested in it; however, not every grieving person passes through these stages as outlined in the book based on his experience with grieving people during previous years in ministry.
GRIEF IS INTENSELY PERSONAL
In his interaction with the couple whose daughter has had multiple problems regarding divorce and illness, he comes to realize that grief is personal. The couple went to church to serve their God and did not put the problem on their faces for everyone to know. They remain silent; until, the pastor lastly discovered that the couple had a daughter who was ill. In his experience, he described grief to be intensely personal. People have intense grief, but they refuse to share their grief. They live with the grief for a long period of time.
THE PERSON OF GRIEF
In the person of grief, the writer made reference on believers that grief is contingent and inevitable; however, believers must depend on Jesus during the grieving process. On the other hand, God will send people to help us in our grieving process. He made reference on himself of how God used him to help the couple with encouraging words as they were going through their grieving process which pertains to their daughter. He concludes that grief is a process, personal, variable, unpredictable, and individualistic.
TRUTH BECOMES REAL
Truth becomes real in the grieving process and makes the grieved person comforted when the truth concerning grieving is mentioned. The comfort comes about not because of Kubler-Ross’s theory or some kind of elaborated theological rationale, but it comes through the mentioning of Jesus (Randolph, pp.17). In his conclusion of this section, he states that in order to overcome grief or the grieving process, the individual should realize the loving presence of God, know the promises of God, seek God in Prayer, and Seek out God’s people.
Realize the Loving Presence of God: The grieving person should recognize and realize the presence of God through faith. Faith ensures the believer that God will heal him or her thereby creating an atmosphere of hope in the life of the believer.
Know the Promises of God: The grieving person can know the promises of God through his word and recognition of God’s sovereignty. God has promised healing and deliverance based on his covenantal promises; however, if God does not heal, he knows his reason and no one can question him.
Seek God in Prayer: The grieving person should know that God will listen to his or her prayer when he or she prays to the Lord. God might say yes, no, or wait. His responses in these manners do not mean that God has not answered the prayer.
Seek out God’s People: God will use his people to help him or her especially when the grieving individual is in the midst of God’s people. Cooperative presence and prayer contribute significantly to the life of the grievers.
In the conclusion, the writer acknowledges the fact that no matter what kind of situation people faced in life as it pertains to grieving, Christ is present to help them overcome their lost. Having experienced similar lost or grief, he is able to present Christ to the grieving populations to enable them overcome their lost because he himself had experienced the same.
Experience is the best teacher. We all continue to learn everyday as the result of what we encounter in lives; therefore, we become better teachers to teach others who are experiencing what we have already experienced during previous years. We can not give out something with virtues if we have not experienced it. The writer’s conclusion in the article about experienced-teacher grievers is affirmatively endorsed by me. I strongly believe that God allows his chosen people to pass through calamity in order to show or demonstrate to them his providential care and to inexplicably and to inconceivably relate to them his sovereignty. Whatever situation we face as believers, we should be ready to go through the process while trusting God that he will eventually deliver us. Even if he does not deliver us as we anticipate, it does not mean that he has failed or lost his attributes. He remains God forever. He is immutable and omnipotent.