How We’re Getting Through
Sermons. They always help me in the trials. I have listened to this one 6 times over the last week. Because it made headline news many people know Rick Warren lost his son last year. This sermon, How We’re Getting Through (starting at minute 10), was an introduction to what Rick described as the 6 stages of grief.
1 – Shock – When Your World Collapses. Something happens that turns your world upside down. Shock is a human emotion. God is never shocked. Nothing ever surprises Him.
2 – Sorrow – When Your Heart is Breaking. Grieving is a necessary part of the process when going through a hard time. Grieving is a Godly emotion and God grieves with us. We are not alone in this process. Jesus wept – John 11:35
3 – Struggle – When You Don’t Understand. This is the stage when we ask why. What we need to remember is explanations don’t help. Knowing why doesn’t lessen the pain, it doesn’t bring healing, and it won’t bring back any one we have lost.
4 – Surrender – How to Experience Peace. Stop asking why and start accepting and surrendering. This is the key to gaining peace.
5 – Sanctification – How God Turns Good Into Bad. When God sets you apart and makes changes in you. This is when we see God bring good out of the bad.
6 – Service – How to Use Your Pain for Good. Pain is never wasted. God takes your greatest pain and turns it into your life message. He turns our mess into a message and our test into a testimony.
With this being the introduction sermon to the 6 stages, Rick shared some wonderful words of wisdom about his journey and some encouraging verses.
1. Life doesn’t make sense, but we can have peace because we know God is with us and God loves us.
- We can blame God, we can blame ourselves, but neither of those will be helpful.
- It’s better to walk with God with none of our questions answered then walk without God with one of our questions answered.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you! When you pass through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned up; it will not consume you! Isaiah 43:2
I will never leave you and I will never abandon you. Hebrews 13:5
2. Everything on earth is broken, but we can have joy because we know God is good and He has a greater plan.
- Sin broke everything. Nothing on earth works perfectly. We live in a very broken world. The weather is broken (tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes). Health is broken (sickness and death). Relationships are broken (divorce, affair, heartbreaks). The list goes on and on. It’s a broken world. So why is there sin and evil? God has given us the free choice to choose Him or not. We won’t experience true restoration until we are with Him in heaven. Could he eliminate all the brokenness in the world, right now? Of course, but that would include getting rid of us – we are sinners and broken too.
- Not everything that happens is good. The promise in Romans 8:28 isn’t that bad won’t happen. The promise is that the bad that does happen, God will use it to turn it into good.
All things God works for the good of those who love him, and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
We can have joy even in our troubles because we know that these troubles produce endurance. And endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will not disappoint us, because God has poured his love to fill our hearts. Romans 5:3-5
3. Life is a battle, but we can have hope because we know there is more to the story.
- God is in all the details. He is working every day to write our story.
- Christians are able to grieve differently because we know the end of the story. We don’t know the path to getting to the end, but we know where we will be when we pass: heaven. We are able to grieve with hope.
We often suffer, but we’re never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again… because we know God raised the Lord back to life. And just as he raised Jesus, he will also raise us back to life, and will bring us into his presence together. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,14
So we don’t focus on the troubles we see right now; instead we look forward to what we don’t see yet. For the troubles we see now are temporary, but the joys to come will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18
Based on how these stages were defined, I think I’m in the sorrow stage. I say that because my heart aches. So heavily.
I choose to believe that God will redeem this story. He will restore us all. He will heal us emotionally and spiritually. He will work out all things for our good. My hope is in Him, the author and perfecter of our story. Thank you to everyone for their prayers, please continue praying for my brother and sister-in-law, Shawn and Aki, as they go through these 6 stages of grief.