Turning sorrow into healing

by Donna Marie Berger

On February 11th, my precious son, Michael would have been 33 years old. Last week, my first-cousin, Frank, buried his beautiful 31-year-old daughter, Monica. This month will mark the first anniversary of the death of my nephew, Al. With life, comes death, but praise God, for those of us who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, death has lost its sting.

“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God! 

He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57(NIV)

For parents who have lost children, however, platitudes and even the kindest words of explanation can be like fingernails on a chalkboard. We first need to know that we will survive the agony of our grief. We need to know that we are not going crazy, that we are not losing our mind, and that we will not lose ourselves in the aftermath of the unthinkable – losing a precious child.

Parents who are suffering the pain of loss, search for and are even desperate for another human being who truly knows our agony. We want to know that we are not dead too. We want someone who will take our hand and walk us through the darkness, while assuring us that light will eventually break through our desperation. When our emotions are validated, our fears are reined in and we don’t feel so alone in our grief.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) When we are curled up in desperation, we are called to trust our hearts to Him and His grace. By grace through faith we find that glimmer of hope in the people he puts in our life to lift us up and in the circumstances He creates to heal us. And, when we finally emerge from our darkness, we will find that it was God’s hand all along that was holding ours.

In my grief, I turned to God. I knew that even when I could not “see” Him, because I was blinded by my pain, He stood patiently nearby, waiting for me to realize He was there and ready to be sought out, all the while using people, circumstances around me, and the Spirit to whisper guidance and direction into my heart. God was not a God of death. He did not create the conditions of my family’s death, but He would “cause everything to work together for the good of those who love [Him] and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NLT) – excerpt from Through It All – by Donna Marie Berger with Will Searcy

For those of us who believe in Jesus, death has indeed lost its sting. Praise God, I can breathe again. I can live and love and laugh again. Tears of sadness no longer wash away my smiles when I think of my son, Michael. My little boy who loved dinosaurs, matchbox cars and his Ghostbuster “guys” was three-years-old when I last hugged him, but knowing he is wrapped in the loving arms of God fills me with the peace I need to accept that while he is gone from my touch, he is never gone from my heart.

Happy heavenly birthday, Michael.

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