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Prolong Grief - A Biblical Perspective

In the book of Genesis, it records the prolonged grief of the patriarch Jacob over the loss of his beloved favorite son, Joseph.  Jacob, expressing the depth of his profound loss and the depth of love he had for his son, said these words:

“For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him”. Genesis 37:35

Its universally humane to not want anyone to suffer in any manner.  However, when grief commence due to a great loss due to the death of a loved one, no one can or should direct a person’s grieving to conform to a norm or a standard of how long it should be.  No pre-approval or approval is needed to be in prolong grief. What is needed is non-judgmental compassion, and healing patience.

The book of Job, God rebuked some men for judging a man (Job) in unrighteousness they actually came to mourn and comfort over the tremendous great losses that were the deaths of his 10 children that were killed (in one day).  After they mourned and weeped for Job they afterwards told him his children deaths and his great financial loss, and his severe disease and misery was punishment for his sins.

One of his friends named Eliphaz said to Job:

Job 4:2   If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking? Job 4:3   Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Job 4:4   Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.  Job 4:5   But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.  Job 4:6   Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?  Job 4:7   Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?  Job 4:8   Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Job 4:9   By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

How sad and very unfortunate for Job to have had to experience such unfounded critical judgment from his friends.  They caused Job more affliction and misery, for which Job stated these painful words to them:

 Job 13:4   “…Ye are all physicians of no value.  Job 13:5  O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom”. 

Prolonged grief over the enormous loss of a loved one caused by death should not be judged or misjudged for anything other than deep sorrow.  Those who are suffering in prolong grief is non-judgmental compassion and healing patience.  To place a limit on the amount of time any person should grieve over the significant loss of a loved one, is to place a limit on the depth of love one should have for a person.

Love for a beloved loved one never diminishes when they die.  It is actually felt stronger after death because love in itself is enduring.  Love, and to the degree of it is individually and personally felt.  Likewise, grief and the degree of it, is individually and personally felt.

Grief and sorrow is not departmentalized to death only either.   It is experienced by those who have suffered in misery for years of oppression; afflictions of cruel injustices continually; false imprisonment; or even realizing the magnitude of one’s sinful act upon another, and against God.

David, King of Judah after realizing the magnitude of his sins concerning the evil he did to his faithful servant Uriah said these anguishing words:

“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me”.  Psalms 51:3   “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me”. - Psalms 40:12 

Jesus Christ, A man of Sorrows Acquainted Often with Grief

The prophet Isaiah said these words of Jesus in the 53rd chapter in the book of Isaiah:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”. – Isaiah 53:3-4

How else could our Lord know and understand our every care and be a faithful high priest who has been touched with all of our infirmities in every aspect of life (yet without sin).   He was greatly despised and hated, spitefully envied, rejected, cast out, oppressed, lied upon, called a servant of Beelzebub, betrayed, arrested, forsaken, imprisoned, beaten, spit upon, mocked, sentenced to death, nailed to a cross, lifted up high from the earth to be hanged, and that all would see, hanging in agony dying he was mocked again, and died.  

And because of the depth of his love for humanity was so wondrous, Jesus said these words in Luke 23:34 as he hung on the cross:

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.

It is never wise to judge others by others for standards, or misjudge for lack of understanding.  There is only one who provided standards for all of humanity, and it is its Creator, God.  And it is only God that knows the degree of a person’s love and loss, and can give them the peace of healing and comfort that pass all understanding.

                     The God of All Hope, Peace, and Comfort is Faithful

Psalms 43:4-5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.  My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Lastly, because God cares about our whole well being so much, he counsels us through his word, that when anything becomes to much for our hearts to bear daily, to remember these words:

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us....looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our cast all our cares upon him, and commend the safe keeping of our soul and your loved one's soul to God."  Hebrew 12:1-2; I Peter 5:7; I Peter 4:19

In time....(God knows when), he wants us all to move forward with his help and for his purpose; to continue glorifying him in our personal lives for his many bountiful blessings through the sacrificial love of his Son that gives everlasting life.


                                Anchored in the Love and Faithfulness of God              


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About the Author

Christian - Psychology of Grief Study at the University of Central Oklahoma - Member of Nat’l Council on Family Relations ::: I am profoundly familiar with the pain of grief, sorrowing, and mourning caused by the enormous loss of a dear love one. Update: I am in anguish and pain over the recent loss (August 10, 2012) of my husband of 37 years and 8 months, and my mother 5 years ago (August 17, 2005); a sibling, my brother over 20 years ago, and my father when I was 7 years old.

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