Author Jerry Sittser tells of a conversation with his wife Lynda where she shared with him, “I can’t imagine life being any better than it is right now.”  Within 24 hours of that conversation, they were hit by a drunk driver. In that incident Jerry lost his wife Lynda, his mother, and his four-year-old daughter (A Grace Disguised, 4, 44).  While most of us do not face such catastrophic trauma, suffering and loss are woven into every human life.  How do we deal with pain and loss?  How do we grieve and heal?
     First, LAMENT.  I realize this is a word American’s do not use in typical conversations.  It simply means to express pain openly and honestly.  The Bible is full of lament.  It includes the book of Lamentations, Job, and large sections of the book of Psalms.  Sometimes we feel the urge to “edit” our feelings and words when we go to God in prayer.  God knows what you are thinking, you might as well say it to Him.  He knows your confusion and anger, go ahead and express it.  God can certainly handle your pain and questions. Christians sometimes feel pressure to always be happy, to act as if nothing bothers them.  But the reality is that we live in a broken, pain-filled world, and are not called to live in denial.  There is value in expressing our pain as David does when he says, “I am worn out from my groaning.  All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.  My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.” (Psalms 6:6,7)   In your grief, pause and express your pain.  As a therapeutic exercise you may want to write your own prayer of lament.   
        Second, LEAN INTO COMMUNITY. Job’s friends get a bad name because they blame him for his troubles which were not his fault.  While I disagree with what they said I appreciate that at the beginning they came and sat with Job in his pain for seven days.  I find that remarkable.  How many seven-day friends do you have?  I have never forgotten when my wife almost went blind in one eye.  The eye doctor told us that we had to drive to Anchorage and have emergency surgery the next day (no flying allowed).  I had just worked an all-night shift and was exhausted.  Our friend, Jay, drove us down all night in his RV and stayed with us for several days for the surgery and post operation check-ins.  That investment of time, and an RV for the family to stay in, was priceless and makes me tear up whenever I tell the story.  When you are in trauma, lean into the relationships you have built.  Let people help you, whether it’s something big and dramatic or something simple.  We all need companions in suffering.      
    Third, HOPE.  Hope is about living life with confident expectation.  Christians believe that God is for us, that He loves us deeply.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ should shatter hopelessness in our lives.  We look at the resurrection, something so completely impossible and we think “if God can do that then anything is truly possible.”  We can believe that God is always working for our good.  It means death does not get the last word.  It means that an eternity of joy awaits us in heaven.      
     In the midst of sorrow and loss, let’s learn to lament with hope. 
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church