Letting Go, Part 4: Grief

Posted on 07/15/2018 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

----


*******

Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
lyrics by Horatio Spafford
music by Philip Bliss

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


LORD YOU'VE BEEN SO GOOD
by Benjamin R. Faust

VERSE ONE
Lord, You've been so good to me
You gave me sight when I was blind
You showed me light I could not see
You brought me truth I could not find

Lord, You've been so good to me
You paid a debt I could not pay
You turned my darkest night to day
Lord You've been so good to me!

CHORUS
And so I praise You in the morning
and I praise You in the night
For You are my Salvation
You are my Guiding Light
So I give You my everything
I just can't give You less
When You sent Your Son to love me
You gave me Your best!

VERSE TWO
Lord, You've been so good to me
You set my feet on solid ground
You rescued my life from the grave
when no other help could be found
Lord, You've been so good to me
and I could never repay
All the love You gave so freely
Lord, You've been so good to me!

(CHORUS)

BRIDGE
Lord You've been so good to me
Lord You've been so good to me (better than I deserve)
Lord You've been so good to me
You paid a debt I could not pay
You turned my darkest night to day
Lord You've been so good to me

Lord You've been so good to me
Lord You've been so good to me (you're good all the time)
Lord You've been so good to me
and I could never repay
All the love You gave so freely
Lord You've been so good to me

(CHORUS)

You gave me Your best!
You gave me Your best!

Lord, You've been so good to me.


WITH ALL THAT I AM
by Benjamin R. Faust

I praise you Lord
I praise you Lord
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I praise you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I praise you with all that I am
Yes I praise you with all that I am

I'll serve you Lord
I'll serve you Lord
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I'll serve you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I'll serve you with all that I am
Yes I'll serve you with all that I am

I love you Lord and
I'll love you Lord
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I love you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I love you with all that I am
Yes I love you with all that I am


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


For the past few weeks, we've been talking about Letting Go. We've covered Fear, Guilt and Blame, and Shame. And today, let's continue this discussion, and talk about Letting Go, Part 4: Grief


Grief is a deep sorrow, a mourning, usually in response to the loss of someone held dear. And while it is generally thought of as something bad, grief simply IS. In fact, in our feel-good society, we tend to cover up grief with thoughts or activities that help us not feel so bad. And that suppressed grief lodges in the heart, obstructing the flow of unconditional, non-conceptual love.


In the book of Genesis, we find the story of Joseph. His father Jacob loved him dearly, but his brothers? Not so much. In fact, they were going to kill him, but one of his brothers convinced them to think of something else, so they sold him into slavery instead.

Now, they couldn't just tell their father, when he asked about where Joseph was, "Well dad, we sold him as a slave. No big deal." So instead, they killed an animal, and dipped Joseph's coat into its blood.

Let's pick up the story from there.

Genesis 37:32-35 (NKJV)

32 Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?"
33 And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces."
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days.
35 And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Thus his father wept for him.


Grief fills the heart, and if it gets stuck, or pushed down, the heart retains that blockage, and life can no longer freely flow. Perhaps that is why, in the Jewish culture, mourning was celebrated. There was a period of time set aside for mourning. And it was mourning on steroids, you could say. And when the time for mourning came to an end, life went on.

So there was an unspoken expectation that one would hold on to the grief and fully feel it with all their being. And then, they would let it go. Of course, the letting go didn't necessarily happen. But it was a really good idea.


So what happens with grief today? Well, we try to make people feel better. We try to give them comfort. And that's fine. The Holy Spirit, after all, is our comforter, is He not? And in Matthew 5:4, Jesus says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

But the truth is, when people have grief, they need to mourn. True mourning is the expression of the inner feeling of grief. Fully feeling it. Fully expressing it. Fully letting it be, without trying to make it go away.

And if you've experienced grief, but you have not allowed yourself to fully feel it, express it, and let it exist as it is, then chances are it's still stuck somewhere inside. And it most certainly is impeding the flow of Love and Life to some degree. And today, the invitation is to become free.


We run away from negative feelings, but at the same time, we give energy to the generation of those feelings, which are kept alive by compulsive thinking. So the mind generates feelings of grief, and at the same time, the mind covers up those feelings and labels them as bad. Which turns them into an emotional cancer that eats away at the inner fountains of Love and Life.

Or you could say, it blocks that flow like a rock slide. It causes emotional debris, and often polutes the Life flow that does get through.

As Proverbs 4:23 (KMV) says, "Keep watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life."

And let's not get all hung up on the word "heart." If I'm not mistaken, that is translated in another language as "kidneys." What this means is basically the center. So in other words, keep inwardly clean and clear, because Life, like a river, flows from within.

And to keep emotions from getting stuck and blocking the flow of Life, you learn to stay present. When a feeling comes, whether it is something small, or overwealming grief, accept that it is. Allow it to be. Don't fight against it. Don't try to cover it up.

Of course it's helpful if you don't keep generating the feeling with thoughts; or more accurately, you don't stay inside the head giving the mind the attention and power to keep dwelling on thoughts that generate the feelings.

This requires honesty with yourself. Are you addicted to those feelings? Maybe without knowing it? Of course no one CONSCIOUSLY wants to feel bad. But we unknowlingly become addicted to the emotional energy. The emotions are not expressed, and are constantly fed, and they grow into a creature almost with a mind of its own.

When someone drinks too much alcohol, or encounters a situation that resonates with that trapped emotion, they can some times seem like a completely different person. Almost like they're possessed by that emotional creature. And the truth is, they ARE. But you can be free.


Most of us are familiar with this passage from Isaiah chapter 53, but let's take another look, and see if there is anything we might have missed that could apply to our topic today.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NKJV)

4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Okay. Did you catch it? Of course we think we understand verse five:

"He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed."

And we claim freedom from and forgiveness for sin, healing from sickness and disease, whether inside, outside, or both, and the peace that His sacrifice bought for us. But we started reading with these words:

"He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows."

What does that mean? Well, you're probably familiar with 1 Thessalonians 4:13:

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

There's no need for me to expound upon that now. But just the knowledge that death is not the end, can help the grieving to not be so bitter. HOWEVER, even with that mental knowledge, we still get the emotion of grief stuck inside, and it blocks the river of Life from flowing clean and free.

But Jesus has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Just like the sicknesses and the sins that He carried to the cross, He also took our griefs and our sorrows. So when the feelings of grief arise, and waves of sorrow wash over you, what do you do?

Do you go into your head for comfort? I thought the Spirit and the Presence of GOD was supposed to be our comforter. Do you go into your head and think about how you should NOT be feeling those feelings because Jesus already bore them? Well, go ahead and do that if you want to make those emotions a sad, repressed creature inside of you that possesses you from time to time in strange and destructive ways.

OR, you could just allow the feeling to be as it is. Experience it fully. Express it freely. Don't think about it, or make it grow by entertaining the mind's chatter about it. But let it flow. Embrace it. Go deeply into it. And see what happens to it.

You just might find that it is transmuted into something else. You just might find it is cleansing, and freeing, and that Life and Love flow with it, becoming one with it.

Be Present with it. Without labeling it. Without conceptualizing it. Just feel it fully. And let it flow. Not in an attempt to change it, or to escape it, but just to feel it, with no reason whatsoever.

The same way a fully content person would feel the sunshine on his face, or the cool rain falling on her shoulders, or the chilly wind stinging their cheeks. Just feeling it. Just because it is. Just letting it be as it is, without trying to change it.

That contentment, rooted in the peace of being fully present in the temple of God, brings true freedom, and keeps that emotion from blocking the flow of the Life and Love found the in eternal present moment, here with God.


And I'd like to close with this verse from Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

We do have that promise. And this will happen as a direct result of the unhindered Presence of God. But remember: where is the Kingdom? The Kingdom of God is not in some other time or place; instead, the Kingdom of God is inside of you, right here and right now, and the God of that Kingdom has filled your body with His Holy Presence.

And when you dwell there, in the present eternal, or "the heavenlies," that same Presence does what Presence does: It wipes away every tear. It removes the illusion of death. It transforms sorrow and grieving from heavy burdens into fleeting waves, that come as they come, and pass through you, unhindered, not resisted or held onto mentally so as to solidify inside the temple, but freely allowed to completely come and completely go.

And only the never-ending and all-pervasive Peace and Joy remain.