It Is Written

Coping with Grief

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: John Bradshaw (Host), Mike Tucker


Series Code: IIW

Program Code: IIW001450A

01:29 [Intro Music]
01:40 [Intro Music]
01:49 JB: This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw.
01:51 Thanks for joining me. In Matthew, chapter 13, you read a
01:54 fascinating parable, the parable of the wheat and the tares.
01:58 A man with a field of wheat discovers that somebody has sewn
02:02 weeds among the wheat and has caused great damage and
02:06 potential catastrophic loss. And when his servants came to him
02:09 and spoke to him about the weeds in the field, he answered by
02:12 saying, "An enemy has done this." That's Matthew 13 and
02:17 verse 28. When God created the world, it was a perfect world.
02:22 There was no sin, no sadness, no suffering, no loss. But an enemy
02:26 came. And one of the consequences of the work of the
02:29 enemy is grief. We were created to be happy forever. Grief is a
02:35 foreign emotion to us, at least with regard to the way God
02:39 created us. Yet we grieve; there is sorrow; there is
02:42 loss. "An enemy has done this." How do you deal with grief?
02:47 Unfortunately, it's one of life's inevitabilities. My guest
02:52 today is Pastor Mike Tucker, the speaker and the director from
02:55 Faith for Today, a media ministry. He's the host of
02:58 Lifestyle Magazine, and for many years has conducted marriage
03:01 seminars called "Mad About Marriage." Pastor Mike Tucker,
03:05 thanks for joining me today. MT: It is a pleasure to be here.
03:07 Thank you, John. JB: Now, unfortunately, when it
03:09 comes to grief, you have firsthand experience.
03:11 Recent experience. The sort of experience none of us want
03:14 to go through. Explain briefly.
03:16 MT: Less than six months ago,
03:17 my wife of over 40 years, Gayle Tucker, passed away
03:20 from pancreatic cancer. It was a brief illness; first symptoms
03:24 March 3, put her in the hospital March 6, diagnosed March
03:27 16, and died April 10. So it's been a painful journey for me
03:32 because she was my best friend, my partner in ministry.
03:35 We did everything together, from pastoral ministry
03:38 to chaplaincy to television ministry, seminars, preaching,
03:42 you name it. We did it all together. And so to lose her
03:46 has been just the most devastating experience
03:48 of my life. JB: And this simply came from out of the blue?
03:50 MT: Oh, yeah. JB: She was a picture
03:51 of perfect health. MT: Perfect health.
03:53 JB: No health issues. MT: No, you know, we pastored
03:54 one church for 17 years. She did not miss one day from work
03:57 because of health. Not one. JB: So this wasn't something you
04:00 could prepare for. MT: No.
04:01 JB: Emotionally or any other way
04:02 MT: No. She played volleyball every week, and had for over 20
04:05 years with the same group of women. Diving on the floor,
04:08 getting volleyballs, you know the "digs," they call them,
04:10 you know. All sorts of things. Vibrant health, happy,
04:15 energetic, until boom, all of a sudden these symptoms hit.
04:18 JB: And along with that, with the loss, comes grief.
04:22 Define grief for me. MT: Grief is an emotional,
04:25 psychological, and physical reaction to any loss
04:28 that is significant. JB: And anybody can grieve.
04:31 I'm thinking the loss of a pet. MT: Yes.
04:33 JB: And your 4-year-old little girl...
04:35 MT: Yes. JB: going to have
04:37 the hardest time adjusting to life without Fluffy.
04:38 MT: I lost a Great Dane, who I'd had for 11 and half
04:41 years, and I had to put her down because of arthritis in her back
04:44 legs. And I loved that dog, and I, I cried over that dog.
04:48 I grieved heavily for her. JB: So grief is something
04:51 that's going to come. MT: Yes.
04:52 JB: And it's going to be difficult, isn't it?
04:54 MT: Yes, it is. JB: I think it's important
04:55 people realize this. There's no shortcut around this, is there?
04:58 MT: No. You cannot ignore it. You can't outwork it.
05:01 You can't out-medicate it. The longer you put it off,
05:04 the longer it will take and the more
05:05 difficult it will be. The best thing is to grieve early; grieve
05:09 intensely early, because that's going to have the best result.
05:13 It may not shorten it, but it will lessen the overall symptoms
05:16 and the severity of the process. JB: You had no time to prepare
05:19 yourself for Gayle's death. MT: Unh-uh.
05:21 JB: She was the picture of perfect health.
05:22 MT: Yeah. JB: Your closest friend.
05:24 And from out of nowhere came a devastating diagnosis.
05:27 Now, what if this had been a lesser illness, but
05:32 with the potential to become serious? One of
05:34 these illnesses where, my goodness, if
05:36 things don't go well we could lose her in five years.
05:39 MT: Um-hmm. JB: Can you prepare
05:42 ahead of time for grief? Is there anything you can do?
05:44 Is there anything you should do, or do you
05:46 just say, "There's no way that's going to happen, and
05:49 should it happen, we cross that bridge when we get there"?
05:51 MT: I think what everyone does at that point is, you anticipate
05:54 the best and you work for the best. When it becomes worse, and
05:58 then you begin to realize that you might lose them, is really
06:00 the time, I think, for most people to engage in anticipatory
06:04 grief. Alright, I need to prepare myself in some
06:06 way for this loss. JB: How does a person prepare
06:08 themselves for a loss and the grief that comes with it?
06:11 MT: I think the first thing is to make sure that your
06:13 relationship with that individual is clear:
06:16 that you're happy together, that there's nothing between you,
06:18 that anything you need to say "I'm sorry" for is done.
06:22 That's the first step: to make sure that we're good. And then
06:25 I think you start by, by reviewing the stories.
06:28 Life review is what we encourage people to do who are
06:31 facing their own death. So how has your life been significant?
06:34 What are the stories? And then as you imagine what it's going
06:37 to be like without that person in your life, allowing yourself
06:40 to feel those emotions, and to grieve in anticipation of the
06:43 loss, will also help you. But just putting the life in
06:46 perspective and understanding, all right, there's a value to
06:49 this life. And although we're going to lose this individual,
06:52 there's been a value to their being here. There's been a
06:54 purpose for this life. And that's helpful.
06:56 JB: Now, grief came to you, and you have some inbuilt
07:00 preparation, that is, you're a pastor.
07:02 You've been a counselor. MT: Um-hmm.
07:05 JB: You've worked in hospice, and you've shepherded people
07:08 through these processes many, many, many times.
07:11 MT: Um-hmm. JB: Did that help?
07:13 MT: It helps in one sense. First of all, I know what to
07:16 expect. It helps because I know that I'm not crazy. That's the
07:20 most frequently asked question of people in severe grief.
07:22 They'll share their symptoms with me: "Have I just lost my
07:25 mind? Am I crazy?" However, knowing those things does not
07:28 lessen my pain. It will not shorten the time. It may help me
07:32 understand better how to deal and how to react to things
07:35 without asking for advice, because I know how to give the
07:38 advice. But it's not going to shorten the intensity of the
07:42 pain. It's not going to shorten the time. So it doesn't
07:44 help in that respect. JB: So a husband or a wife
07:49 is going to lose a spouse. MT: Um-hmm.
07:51 JB: Grief is going to come. MT: Yeah.
07:53 JB: What's guaranteed to come with that grief?
07:56 MT: Well, first of all, there's going to be a sense
07:59 of emptiness, loneliness. There may be, especially early on,
08:03 and even continuing for months, the sense that it's not real.
08:07 Like you've dreamed this. Like you want to pinch yourself.
08:09 I still do that; it's been six months. So that's normal.
08:12 Also, there's frequent crying. You may feel like
08:15 there's a weight pressing down on your chest, difficult to
08:18 breathe deeply. You'll find yourself sighing more
08:20 frequently. You'll find a sense of, of sorrow and sadness, uh, a
08:26 lost-ness. A loss of enjoying activities you used to enjoy
08:30 before, you suddenly now take no pleasure in. Short-term memory
08:34 is gone. Um, abilities to concentrate are gone. And just
08:40 an overall feeling of depression and pain and sorrow that is
08:43 intense. It's, it's a wonderful experience.
08:47 JB: I'm sure. MT: [laughs]
08:48 JB: Now, that's going to last how long?
08:52 MT: It varies from person to person. One to two years
08:55 is the average for a significant loss. Uh, some people
08:58 will experience that up to three to five years, depend--and not
09:02 really be pathological with that. But you usually look for
09:05 recovery, and that means the ability to think clearly again.
09:09 Maybe it's not the first and last thing on your mind
09:11 every day. You'll still cry and feel sad and feel the sorrow,
09:14 but be able to function more normally after one to two years.
09:18 And then that's when we talk about recovery.
09:20 JB: There's no question when it comes to grief, this is the work
09:23 of the enemy. "An enemy hath done this." But we'll come
09:25 to the Bible, and we'll discover that there is a way through.
09:27 There is a way through grief, and we can thank God for that.
09:31 I'll be back with more with Pastor Mike Tucker
09:32 in just a moment.
09:35 [Soft Piano Music]
09:41 Grief. Sadly, it's an inevitable part of life.
09:45 There's no escaping loss in this world and the pain that
09:47 comes along with it. Grief can be disabling, intense
09:50 and debilitating. So make sure you get your free copy
09:54 of "Coping with Grief" by John Bradshaw. There is a way through
09:57 life's toughest times. Learn how you or someone you care about
10:01 can cope with grief. Discover principles that will show you
10:04 how to return to a life full of joy and hope. Please, don't let
10:08 grief be any more difficult than it has to be. When the burdens
10:12 of loss seem to be more than you can handle, there is a way you
10:15 can cope with grief. To receive the book "Coping with Grief,"
10:18 call right now 1-800-253-3000. There's absolutely no cost or
10:23 obligation, and our lines are open 24 hours a day. If the
10:26 lines are busy, please try again. We'll send "Coping with
10:30 Grief" free to any address in North America. Call
10:33 1-800-253-3000. Or you can write to us at It Is Written,
10:38 P O Box 6, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37401. To download
10:43 a free electronic version of "Coping with Grief," please
10:46 visit us online at To get
10:50 your free copy of "Coping with Grief," call right now,
10:53 1-800-253-3000.
10:56 [Music]
10:57 JB: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written.
10:58 I'm John Bradshaw. With me my good friend
11:01 Mike Tucker, who is a pastor, and an author, and a television
11:03 presenter, a counselor, a chaplain. Mike, you've kind of
11:07 done it all. MT: Yeah.
11:08 JB: We're talking today about grief. You have, unfortunately,
11:13 a close-up, first-hand experience with grief.
11:15 And it's something everybody can relate to, or will relate to.
11:20 We hear a lot about the stages of grief. Walk us through those
11:24 and tell us how they apply to a grieving situation.
11:26 MT: The stages of grief, it depends who you're
11:28 reading. Some people say there are four, another five,
11:30 another seven, and another twelve. And all of them tend to
11:34 think that you go through those stages in order. Well, those may
11:38 be helpful for a lot of people; I've never found them to be
11:40 helpful. So it depends on who you read. But if it's helpful
11:43 for you, use it. For me, instead, I usually think
11:46 about goals of grief. JB: The goals of grief?
11:48 MT: Goals of grief. Grief has a purpose.
11:51 And as you accomplish goals, you walk your way through it.
11:54 And then there are four activities of grief,
11:55 which I'll mention later. But the first goal of grief is to
11:58 believe that it actually happened. And again, you may,
12:01 you may deal with this and have to revisit that all the way
12:04 through the journey. Because there are times when I wake up,
12:06 after six months, and I still have to remind myself
12:08 that this is real. JB: A friend of mine was a
12:10 chaplain for a police department MT: Yeah.
12:12 JB: He'd tell me about having to go and break the news to
12:15 people: your husband has been killed in a terrible accident.
12:18 He told me it was really interesting that you go and
12:20 tell people this, and they just flat out refuse to believe it.
12:23 MT: Right. JB: He spoke about one lady.
12:24 He had to put her in the car, drive her to the accident scene,
12:26 and say, "This is where it happened."
12:28 Still wouldn't believe it. MT: Yeah.
12:30 JB: So, so that's, that's a thing huh?
12:32 MT: You cannot, you cannot grieve a loss
12:34 you do not accept. And so the process is
12:36 stopped until you accept it. Yes, I believe this has really
12:39 happened. The truth is that if you live in denial long enough,
12:42 eventually you can come to the point where you almost never get
12:45 back, or it's very difficult to get back. And so the sooner you
12:48 accept the reality of it, the better for you. So that is the
12:52 first goal, is to believe that this really happened. And again,
12:55 the fact that you, you have times where you doubt it again,
12:58 but you bring your mind--that doesn't mean that you haven't
13:00 accomplished this goal. You just have to re-accomplish it. So
13:03 that's the first goal, is to believe that it really happened.
13:06 The second goal is to be willing to experience the pain. Uh, some
13:10 people will try to outwork it, or ignore it, or stuff it. Some
13:15 people will out-medicate it, or out-drink it. Eventually the
13:18 pain's going to come and get you. If you deal with it early,
13:22 it's better than if you deal with it late, because when it
13:25 comes back late, it will come back in, in spades. So it'll be
13:27 even harder and more difficult. JB: But isn't it right to try to
13:32 get rid of the pain? I mean, that's what we do. No one goes
13:35 into surgery without anesthetic, and the first thing you do if
13:37 you have a headache is take a Tylenol or some such thing. So
13:40 wouldn't that just be a natural thing to say, I've lost
13:44 a pet, a grandparent... MT: Yeah, yeah.
13:46 JB: ...a spouse, a child. It hurts like crazy. I want
13:49 to get rid of the pain. MT: Yeah. Well, the truth is,
13:51 you can, you can help with that. There are medicines that can
13:54 help, and some people will use those, and that's fine. I don't
13:56 think there's a shame in that as long as they're
13:57 used as, as prescribed. JB: Well, now, I'm not
14:00 specifically referring to medicines.
14:02 MT: Yeah. JB: But wouldn't you want
14:03 to find a way out of this pain? You're saying...
14:04 MT: Absol...everyone wants to find a way out.
14:06 JB: What you're saying is, really, you ought to kind of
14:07 confront this and live with it. MT: Yes, That's right.
14:09 JB: There's no way around it. MT: The only way through grief
14:11 is, indeed, through it. You can't, you can't outrun it.
14:16 And so, my personality is such that I don't want to be
14:19 the victim. And so since I know I have to go through it,
14:23 I initiate contact with it. That means that I will force myself
14:26 at times to think about memories of her that are painful,
14:29 and those that are joyous. I, I got back in the pulpit
14:33 for the first time, sooner than, perhaps, some would have
14:35 thought was advisable. But I knew I needed to do this.
14:38 JB: What was it like? MT: It was very painful.
14:40 I had to steel my mind and be, be prepared for the possibility.
14:45 I went over the danger points in my sermon where I might lose it.
14:50 and I JB: You prepared ahead of time.
14:51 MT: Yes, I did. I prepared for that.
14:53 And so I, and I bathed myself in prayer, and then just
14:58 stood up and delivered. And I got through it.
15:01 JB: Now, you and Gayle, for years, have hosted
15:03 television programs. MT: Yeah, yeah.
15:06 JB: Excellent program. And you've gone back into the studio
15:10 without her... MT: Yes.
15:11 JB: film those programs now, with a team,
15:14 but on your own. MT: Yes.
15:16 JB: What was that like? MT: Extremely painful.
15:19 Extremely painful, because she should have been there.
15:20 JB: Yeah. MT: We worked together as a team
15:22 so long that we would anticipate what the other was going to say,
15:25 and when they were going to say it, and who was going to ask
15:27 the question next. We didn't have to give each other signs.
15:29 I miss that on a professional level, but I just missed her,
15:33 and her laughter, and her joy, and her comfort,
15:37 being there with me. Because that was always a team activity;
15:39 it was a team ministry. So that was very painful.
15:42 JB: What's really fascinating here is that as an author,
15:46 a teacher, a preacher, a television presenter, you knew
15:52 the pain that you were going to experience by doing it. Yet you
15:54 chose to do it anyway. MT: Yeah.
15:56 JB: Now, was that the, was that the healthy thing to do,
15:58 or was it just the stubborn thing to do?
16:00 MT: It can be healthy--maybe it's stubborn too, because I am
16:02 stubborn. But I do think that, that there's a health to it if,
16:06 indeed, you think you're ready for the next step. I stretch
16:09 myself, and I lean into the pain. If I put it off, it's
16:14 going to be harder and harder for me. And so I try to initiate
16:17 things. I've gone to favorite vacation spots without her, just
16:20 to initiate that. Restaurants where we've eaten together.
16:23 JB: Now, that's interesting, because you got a couple of
16:25 guys who are friends, they go fishing every Sunday.
16:28 MT: Yeah. JB: You'd say to that guy,
16:29 "Go fishing." MT: Go fishing.
16:30 JB: Yeah? MT: Don't do it right away.
16:32 Wait until you think you're ready, but initiate that.
16:34 Go back. A misconception is to think that to honor this
16:38 life, I never do those things again. That's kind of building a
16:41 monument to them, and it restricts your life. But I want
16:44 to honor Gayle's life by continuing to do the things that
16:47 we did together. One of the last things she said to me was "live
16:50 our life. Live our life." That meant faith, it meant family, it
16:55 meant ministry. But I think it further means, continue to live
16:58 with the joy that we had. So I've gone to those vacation
17:01 spots. I've gone back to the studio. I'm trying to write
17:04 again, but I can't concentrate like I, I used to be able to. So
17:07 that's been a painful experience for me; I'm just not able to do
17:10 it yet. Some things you can do and some things you can't.
17:12 JB: But you anticipate that sooner or later you'll be able
17:15 to do that. MT: Yes. I will do that again.
17:18 JB: Let me ask you this: you probably just answered
17:20 the question, but, um, let's say, for instance, you used
17:24 to love to go to the store and get an ice cream sundae.
17:27 MT: Yeah. JB: Yeah. And so now you go to
17:29 the store, and you get an ice cream sundae.
17:31 MT: Um-hmm. JB: Do you feel guilty that
17:34 you're enjoying this pleasure but she's not there, and so
17:38 maybe I shouldn't? Do you, because people
17:41 wrestle with this. MT: Yeah, they do.
17:42 JB: So I'm asking you, is that, is that a thing?
17:44 MT: It's a real thing. And it's not something that I've had;
17:47 I just feel, for me personally, I just feel her absence and,
17:50 and that sorrow. But other people feel guilt over this--
17:53 kind of a survivor's remorse. JB: What should they
17:55 do about that? MT: I think that the best thing
17:57 to do about it is to still lean into it, and remind yourself
18:00 that this is what that person would want you to do.
18:03 As long as you have life, live it. And now this becomes
18:06 the new tribute to them. One tribute is to grieve and to
18:10 weep, and to withdraw to some degree. And you may do that for
18:13 a time. Eventually, you need to initiate contact with the pain,
18:17 and lean back into life, and that becomes the new tribute
18:20 to them. So as I engage in that process of being
18:23 willing to experience the pain, it means I'm, I cry,
18:27 I think, I talk about the experience. But I also initiate
18:30 the experience. For me, that's, that's a better way of dealing
18:33 with it. Not every personality's the same. But for me, leaning
18:37 into it and anticipating the next first, and getting there as
18:40 soon as I can, has been helpful for me.
18:42 JB: As long as you have life, live it. I'll be back with more
18:46 from Mike Tucker in just a moment.
18:48 [Music]
18:55 "Every Word" is a one-minute, Bible-based daily devotional
18:59 presented by Pastor John Bradshaw and designed
19:01 especially for busy people like you.
19:04 Recieve a daily spiritual boost. Watch "Every Word"
19:08 [Music]
19:12 JB: Guilt is a major issue in alot of lives.
19:16 Not all guilt is bad
19:18 It's good to have something inside you that let's you know
19:20 you've done something wrong. That you need to reexamine
19:22 behavior or attitudes or your response to others.
19:25 But when you've done something really wrong it can be difficult
19:28 to get over the feelings of failure or worthlessness,
19:30 or some other destructive emotions. But i've got good news
19:33 for you today. It's found in 1st corinthians 15:3
19:36 The Bible says simply, Christ died for our sins.
19:39 what you do about the things you've done wrong,
19:41 really wrong? You can't take em back. But you can let Jesus
19:44 take away the guilt and ill feelings. Jesus died for your
19:47 sins. Sin's a serious thing but Christ's death for you means
19:51 you don't have to feel guilty about the mistakes that you've
19:55 made in the past. Jesus has died for you and that's that!
20:00 I'm John Bradshaw for It Is Written.
20:02 Let's live today by every word."
20:04 [Music]
20:09 JB: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. My guest
20:11 is Pastor Mike Tucker from Faith for Today.
20:14 And Mike, as we discuss grief, looking at the, the goals
20:18 of grief, what were those first two again?
20:19 MT: Believe that it really happened is the first
20:22 one. To be willing to experience the pain is the second one. The
20:24 third one is to make adjustments to daily life without that
20:28 person in your life. Now, for me, that means learning
20:31 to cook [chuckles], or finding cheap restaurants
20:34 [chuckles]. It also means finding a new confidante.
20:37 Whatever it may happen to be, there have to be adjustments
20:40 to life, daily life, without that individual.
20:42 JB: That becomes really practical, doesn't it?
20:44 MT: Very practical. That's where the rubber meets the road. And
20:46 you have to do those things. That's inescapable.
20:48 JB: After my dad died, my mother had to try to figure out
20:51 who was going to change the light bulbs.
20:52 MT: Yeah. JB: And get up high,
20:53 and these kinds of things. And that's, that's an adjustment,
20:56 isn't it? MT: All of those things are a
20:57 part of this whole process, and that's a big deal -- especially
21:01 when someone has been involved with your life as Gayle was with
21:03 me for 40 years. We did everything together. But, you
21:06 know, there are still certain things around the house that she
21:08 did, and it was divide and conquer.
21:10 JB: Sure. MT: I got no one to divide
21:11 with anymore, you know? It's all me. And so I have to figure out
21:15 how to do the things that she used to do. Uh, it may mean any
21:19 number of things, but you make those adjustments to daily life
21:21 without this person in your life anymore. Uh, that's, that's
21:25 reality; it's painful. You make the adjustments, but I'm also
21:29 leaning into that pain. I learned how to get through her,
21:32 her birthday the first time without her. That's an
21:34 adjustment. My daughter just, my oldest daughter, just had her
21:38 birthday. That's an adjustment, getting through that birthday
21:40 without Momma being there. I may keep some old traditions,
21:44 and I may form some new ones. I don't know yet.
21:46 JB: Forming new traditions. MT: Yeah.
21:48 JB: Isn't it denial of the past? MT: Not necessarily. I remember
21:51 one lady, when her mother died, it came Thanksgiving time.
21:55 The house was empty; her mother's house was empty.
21:57 And they always went there because it was the law
21:59 of the Medes and the Persians: you ate at Momma's
22:01 house for Thanksgiving. And Momma kind of ruled with an iron
22:04 fist. So it came up to Thanksgiving; she said, should I
22:07 go, should I have the family go back and eat there in that
22:09 house? I said, absolutely not. It's time for a new tradition.
22:13 The old tradition was fine while it lasted. Some things may stay
22:16 the same. But some things will change, and you need to form
22:20 that new tradition. JB: And people ought to feel
22:21 comfortable about taking the responsibility for making those
22:25 decisions and feeling good about it.
22:26 MT: Yeah. It's all right. And, in fact, you may make a bad
22:29 decision. Okay. Go back and do it again a different
22:32 way next time. JB: Okay. Fourth stage, or
22:35 fourth goal. MT: Fourth goal is to be willing
22:37 to say goodbye to the relationship as it used to be.
22:40 Withdraw the emotional energy and reinvest it elsewhere. I say
22:44 goodbye to that portion of our relationship, maybe one at a
22:48 time, and withdraw that emotional energy that I'd
22:51 invested in that, and eventually find a place to reinvest.
22:54 Now, the healthy reinvestments are going to have to do
22:57 with God, with other people, and with service, and with
23:01 giving, rather than just in something that's about me,
23:04 self-centered or myopic. I want a broad, purpose for life.
23:08 And so I find a way to reinvest. I may do it in volunteerism.
23:11 I can reinvest in my family, my children, my grandchildren.
23:15 That's a part of the reinvestment, and that's
23:17 okay. Some people will reinvest in a new love. That may or may
23:21 not happen for me. It certainly shouldn't happen until a couple
23:25 of years down the road for anyone. Anyone. Men are more
23:28 likely to remarry quickly. I have no idea if I ever will.
23:32 It's not anything I want to consider yet. It's not on my
23:35 radar yet, and it may never be. JB: Let me ask you this: what
23:40 should someone do, or not do, to help somebody else who's
23:45 grieving? MT: Don't try to fix it. That's
23:47 the number one thing. When, people want to make me feel
23:50 better, because we're not comfortable with pain in
23:53 western society. I may express pain, and they'll
23:55 come back with a "yeah, but." You know, the "yeah, but"
23:58 I already know.
24:00 You're not going to help me with the "yeah, but." I'm
24:02 beyond being cheered up. It will help down the road, and I know
24:06 that to be true. I know that this is not goodbye; it's
24:08 goodnight. I will see her again. But trying to cheer me up with
24:12 the "yeah, but" is not helpful. Trying to push me through it too
24:15 fast is not helpful. It's been six weeks; shouldn't you feel
24:19 better by now? No, I shouldn't. I've scarcely started by now.
24:21 JB: People say those things, don't they?
24:23 MT: Yes, they do. Yeah, they do. JB: Wow.
24:25 MT: There's a book that I mentioned to you off air.
24:27 It's entitled "Don't Ask For the Dead Man's Golf Clubs."
24:29 It's a great title! JB: What a title.
24:31 MT: But, you know, it's really a list of all the things we do
24:34 that kind of mess people up when we're, quote, "trying to help"
24:37 in grieving. But I think coming alongside and just listening to
24:41 the stories. Bringing Kleenex and being comfortable
24:43 with someone's tears, and not trying to fix them. Don't try to
24:46 cheer them up. Listen and be empathetic with them, and let
24:49 them work through that process themself. If they ask you
24:51 to cheer them up, that's fine. I think what most people
24:54 want is just someone to know that, yes, this hurts, and
24:57 I'd ,I'll be happy to listen to your stories, but I will be
24:59 there for you. JB: Grief is all part of this
25:01 great battle that's raging in the universe between
25:04 righteousness and sin. MT: Yeah.
25:06 JB: As we wrap up, tell me how your faith in God
25:12 has been a practical help to you as you grieve over
25:17 a devastating loss. MT: We mentioned that the four
25:20 activities of grief in the previous session were think,
25:23 talk, write and cry. And I would like to add to that a fifth one,
25:26 and that is pray. Even at times when you've had a loss, it feels
25:29 like God is not there, that you're talking to an empty
25:32 ceiling, pray anyway. It helps you organize your thoughts, and
25:36 it, and it still pours out your heart to the only one who can
25:39 fix it for you. And so I pray. Grief has made that, made me
25:46 even more keenly aware of the necessity for my faith in God.
25:50 Some people lose faith because they get angry. I'm not angry,
25:54 because God has not withheld any of his promises, any of his
25:57 blessings. He's a comfort. He's a strength. He cries with me.
26:01 And eventually he will dry my eyes.
26:04 JB: Amen. There's one verse I expect you've read
26:10 again and again. MT: Yeah.
26:12 JB: Tell me if this is a help. The Bible says in
26:18 First Thessalonians, chapter 4, "For this we say to
26:21 you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and
26:24 remain unto the coming of the Lord will by no means proceed
26:27 those who are asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from
26:31 heaven with a shout, with the voice of an
26:34 archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ
26:39 will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught
26:43 up together with him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
26:45 air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord." And verse 18
26:48 says, "Therefore, comfort one another with these words." Mike,
26:54 the Bible doesn't say those words take away our pain.
26:57 MT: No, it does not. JB: But it does say
26:58 they offer comfort. MT: Yes.
26:59 JB: Do they offer you comfort? MT: They do, because I know that
27:02 what I've said is not goodbye; it's goodnight. I will see her
27:05 again in the morning. And that brings comfort. Surprisingly, it
27:09 brings varying degrees of comfort at different phases.
27:12 JB: Sure. MT: There are times when it's
27:13 not particularly comforting. But overall, I know those
27:16 things to be true. And long term, yes, it brings
27:18 comfort; it brings hope. Because I grieve,
27:21 but not as those who have no hope, as we are counseled.
27:24 I know that my Lord is coming, and when he comes Gayle will
27:28 rise, because her faith was in him. And I will see her again.
27:31 That is great hope. It's not goodbye; it's goodnight.
27:34 JB: You know, more than I know, that what you've shared today
27:38 is going to be an immense help and a comfort to countless
27:40 people. Thanks very much. Let's pray together.
27:42 MT: Sure. JB: Our Father in heaven, we are
27:46 grateful that the Bible declares that you are the God of all
27:49 comfort. And there are times in our experience where we
27:53 wrestle with emotions, and hurts, and losses and joys
27:56 that we don't really know how to process. We need your help. And
28:02 so thank you for being our help and our stay and our strength.
28:06 And friend, as, as I pray now and you're dealing with
28:11 perhaps, a loss, perhaps grief, perhaps just difficulty
28:15 of some type in your life, are you willing to
28:18 say to Jesus, "Lord, I'm willing to let you carry me through"?
28:23 Friend, don't give up. Don't quit. Don't fall back. Are you
28:28 willing to continue to say, "I'm placing my faith and trust in
28:31 you"? Heavenly Father, take our hearts. We're not even sure most
28:36 of the time how to give them. Maybe we cannot. But we can ask
28:39 you to take them, and keep them, and minister to our hurts and
28:44 our confusions and our lack of understanding. Give us grace to
28:47 trust you now and always. And we look forward to that wonderful
28:51 day when Jesus returns. In Jesus' name, Amen.
28:57 Make sure you get your free copy of "Coping with Grief"
28:59 by John Bradshaw free to any address in North America.
29:03 Call 1-800-253-3000. Or you can write to us at It Is Written,
29:08 P.O. Box 6, Chattanooga, TN 37401. To download a free
29:13 electronic version, pease visit us online at
29:18 There is a way through life's toughest times.
29:20 "Coping with Grief" by John Bradshaw.
29:24 Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm looking to seeing you
29:27 again next time. Until then, remember, "It is written, 'Man
29:31 shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
29:37 from the mouth of God.'"
29:38 [Music]


Revised 2017-01-11