Our new normal includes living with a constant stream of news about the Coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, we are also living with an understated reality of how we are all affected by Coronavirus, even if not directly afflicted by it. This understated reality is that we are experiencing loss, and most of us aren’t good at grieving losses.
Tragic losses reported in the news include the loss of lives, health, jobs, financial resources, and relational connection during a variety of critical life experiences.
More subtle losses include the myriad of things that have changed or been taken away. Our routines have been disrupted. Events like graduations, family traditions, and trips have been cancelled. Meetings and church gatherings are mostly online instead of in person. Students are not in typical classrooms. Parents have new challenges. Athletes are sidelined. Sports addicts are going through withdrawal.
We are all affected by this pandemic, even if not directly afflicted by the Coronavirus.
In our calling as VitalChurch interim pastors, we are privileged to serve with church leaders to discern the real issue(s) beneath the presenting issues in a church. Sometimes a real issue is unresolved grief. When we experience loss, learning to process grief is useful, helpful, biblical, and critical. Grief may be the real emotion beneath the presenting emotion. Failure to grieve may keep us stuck in anger or fear. Failure to grieve well may hinder walking with God and hearing from God about His will and way for our future.
Right now, much of the world is focused on dealing with the shock of our new reality. Soon, most people will need to find time and space to attend to loss and grief. Theologian Andy Crouch recently said, “The creative potential for hope and vision is unparalleled right now — but paradoxically this creativity will only be fully available to us if we also make space for grief and lament.”
Here are three recommended action steps to make space for grief:
1. Name ‘em
What losses are you experiencing? Give ‘em a label or name.
2. Feel ‘em
What emotions are tied to these losses? Feel ‘em as you identify and name them.
3. Throw ‘em
Remember the loving providence and care of God the Father.
Prayerfully throw ‘em – casting our cares on Him because He cares for us. (IPeter 5:6-7)
Engaging in these steps is a spiritual exercise in practicing good grief, which I hope will benefit many of us during this trying time.
We just celebrated the “holy week,” which climaxes in celebrating the resurrection – how God defeated sin and death by raising His Son from the dead (I Corinthians 15:55-57). During this particular week, we were also told to anticipate significant suffering and deaths from Coronavirus. So much loss and grief. We are all affected, even if not directly afflicted with this virus.
In this season of social distancing, stay close to Jesus. We know He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). As Jesus came into Jerusalem just days before he would go to the cross, he wept in grief over the city and the needs of the people (Luke 19:41).
As you name and feel the losses you’re experiencing – be warned! It may bring you to tears. If an interim pastor from VitalChurch Ministry might help you or your church in this season, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to speak with you and maybe weep with you.