I read a post tonight, by a bereaved mom, that began well. However, as I continued reading, she then began to advise folks to not offer Hope to those early on in their grief. She reasoned: “Don’t rush past the hurt to extend hope. The grieving need to fully process and struggle through their pain”.
I contend that one’s ‘process and struggle’ will be prolonged in the absence of Hope.
She went on to state: “Hope can be friend or foe” and added that Hope: “frequently results in disappointment.” This is where she lost me.
Hope in anything or anyone other than God will often disappoint…this is true. However, God says in His Word in Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
So, what she has stated is contrary to God’s Word.
I do believe her intent was well-meaning. Yet, she errors in giving such advice. It is in our darkest hours that we are in the most dire need of God’s Hope. To suggest that one should wait to extend Hope until one has more fully processed and struggled with their pain, is to say that a doctor must wait until a patient feels better before he/she administers the medicine that will make them better.
I believe the difference lies in Whom we place our Hope and what type of Hope we are offering. If we only offer simple clichés and empty words, such false hope will most definitely disappoint.
As believers in Jesus, the Christ, we do not grieve: ‘like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.’ (1 Thes. 4:13). It is true that in our earliest days and months as we walk through ‘the valley of the shadow of death‘ (Ps. 23:4), we may find ourselves resistant to Hope that is extended. A wounded person may swing at you and push you away if you offer them some water to drink, even though that water is what they need to be replenished. Should that give us reason to not extend to them that water? Have you ever attempted to rescue a drowning person? Drowning victims are often thrashing and panicking which can make it hazardous to perform a swimming rescue. So should we simply stand by and let them drown? ‘A drowning victim’s first reaction will be to climb on top of you, so you’ll need a flotation device to keep both of you safe and perform the rescue effectively’ is the advice given when faced with such a situation.
As a very young child, my Mom had taken me to the local pool to take swimming lessons along with another girl from the neighborhood. My friend, Cindi, began to suddenly panic as we were in the pool. She did start to climb on top of me and in doing so, forced me under the water. Somehow, I was given the strength to push her off of me at which time an adult threw in a flotation device. Thankfully, neither of us did drown that day.
Hope is that lifebuoy we need to have with us as we reach out to assist the drowning bereaved. We do not wait until a person is done struggling, for then it may be too late.
Do not hesitate to offer Hope, Real Hope in Jesus, to a person drowning in grief even if they attack you, try and pull you down with them, or hit and kick you at the onset.
1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ currently available at:
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/2017/03/the-pain-of-holidays-after-the-loss-of-loved-ones/
Please help spread the word…TY!!! (((HUGS)))