He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Monday, March 22, 2010 

Resist Grief's Temptations

When you grieve, you are vulnerable to temptations you would normally resist. The enemy of your soul attacks in your weakest moments. He targets strugglers. In times of loss and grief, look out for these temptations:

Doubt. When you are shocked at the death of someone you love, it can be tempting to doubt God’s goodness, mercy, faithfulness, and love. You don’t feel loved. You don’t feel like you are the object of God’s goodness. You cry for mercy, but you don’t see it. It is easy to lose sight of what God is actually doing. If you wander down into a dark, windowless basement and the door locks behind you, you can’t see any light or feel the sun’s warmth. But did the sun stop shining? No. Powerful feelings of grief can get in the way of our experience of God’s goodness. But don’t give in to doubt. Hold onto your belief in his love and mercy more than ever before.

Anger. Death should make you angry that the effects of sin still touch us. But be careful that anger at death doesn’t degenerate into anger with God. In the face of things they do not understand, in the middle of questions that no one can honestly answer, many people bring God into the court of their judgment. Resist giving in to such anger. It blinds you to God’s true nature and ever-present help.
Envy. Death often makes us feel that we have been singled out for suffering. You may wish you could switch lives with someone else. But that is dangerous. Envy is rooted in a disappointment with God that says, “You didn’t give me what I want!” In envy, you are less able to deal with your loss in biblically constructive ways.

Self-pity. In your pain, you are tempted to move God out of the center of your life. Life becomes all about you. No one’s loss or pain is as great as yours. You descend to a level of self-pity and self-absorption you wouldn’t have tolerated before. Despite the way you feel, don’t set aside the two great commands to love God and others.

Are you resisting the temptations that grief sends your way?

- Paul David Tripp, Grief: Finding Hope Again

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