In a world where there is pandemonium, people losing their beloved ones to diseases, companies are closing and people losing their jobs; does God really care, and does He know about our sufferings?
Grief comes in different forms in our lives. At some point, grief has had a fair share of our lives. We all have had different experiences with grief due to different circumstances in our day to day lives. The Oxford dictionary describes grief as “intense sorrow.” This sorrow may come as a result of the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or the end of a relationship. It is in the midst of such a crisis that we find ourselves being unable to control our feelings and emotions. Most of the time you feel like you are the only person experiencing such a situation.
The year 2020 is going to be remembered in history as one of the worst as far as the social-economic situation is concerned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The way the coronavirus outbreak has affected businesses and the lives of people across the globe will have a major impact on the mental health issues for most people. There are businesses that have been flourishing prior to 2020 that are now on their knees. Most of them will take time to recover or some will never recover at all from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In our African culture, we grew up being told that a man has to be strong in every situation. Shedding tears as a man is considered a sign of weakness. However, it has to be known that sometimes when you see a man crying, it shows that he has been strong for a long time but now he cannot bear it anymore.
A friend of mine told me a few days ago that one of his relatives lost his job and that the relative was struggling to break the news to his wife. He was feeling worthless, powerless, and struggled to share that sad news with his family. This is what grief does to a person. If you can not find the support you end up being in depression.
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in her book “ Death and Dying” came up with a model which is known today as the Kübler-Ross model which describe the five stages of grief.
Denial is the first stage of grief according to her model. In this stage, people pretend that the loss isn’t happening and most of the time they hide their feelings. It can be a job loss, for example, where you had created a strong bond with your work, it is difficult to accept the news that indeed it has happened. Some people who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic are still in denial because they were not expecting that it can happen. Some are yet to make decisions on life after the job loss because they are still in denial.
Anger is the second stage of grief. During this stage, you start to feel emotions you have been trying to hide. Most of the time your anger is directed to others. You start to question why this has happened.
Bargaining is the third stage of grief as described in the Kübler-Ross model. During this stage, you try to create a line of defense against the emotions of grief. Have you ever noticed that most of the time when something has happened to us we try to bargain with God? I have done it countless times that when l pray to God l say if He makes this and that not happen, l promise in return to do this and that.
The next stage of grief is depression. In this stage, you’re feeling heavy and sometimes confused. Depression can lead to chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure if not well managed.
The last stage in grief is acceptance. In this stage, you have understood that it has happened and you are at peace with that. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’ve moved past grief or loss but that you have managed to take things as they are.
Having discussed the stages of grief, how then can we deal with the grieving process. It is very important to acknowledge your loss and pain. This is a very important step that will help you to know what you are dealing with. There’s also the need to accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions. As l mentioned earlier on, a man is considered weak when he is seen crying, but it should be understood that our grieving process is unique. If it means crying, you better do so until you feel relieved.
A problem shared is a problem half solved. It is important that we seek face to face support from family and friends. A mere phone call or visit to a friend especially during this lockdown period will change the life of a depressed person. There are people who are on the verge of committing suicide just because they don’t have anyone to share their problems with. We don’t live like islands but we need each other in trying times. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
At the beginning of this article, l paused some questions to you. Does God really care and does he know about our problems? We all have asked the same questions where is God when we are grieving. Let me share with you what the holy scriptures say about grief.
In Psalms 73:26, David says that our flesh and heart may fail but God is the strength of our heart. You may be suffering from heartbreak or a job loss, just remember that you only find strength in God.
Joshua 1:9, “do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” We may face discouragement in different situations of life but God is promising to be with us wherever we go.
The gospel of Mathew 11:28, a special appeal to all of us is given, and it says, “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and l will give you rest.” In all our pains, our sorrows, and our losses, let us come to the Lord because he can give us a peace of mind and meaningful rest. People may try to comfort us but they have their limitations and only God can embrace us all. Every problem under the sun has a solution and no stress is permanent. We have a loving and caring Father from above.
So indeed God cares about you; he knows our situations and he is the solution.
Article by Tafadzwa Musakatiza