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  • Writer's picturePastor Rachael Chinnery Todman

Finding Comfort in Loss

BY: Rev. Rachael Chinnery Todman & Felicia Sterlacci

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in our world, in our nation and in our individual lives. The effects of this pandemic have left many families suffering from some type of loss and grief. It has left many families with broken hearts from the loss of a loved one. While everyone who has left this world did not leave from COVID, grief and loss is still a devastating blow to go through.

A loss can come from different sources like divorce, loss of health, financial loss, a woman suffering from a miscarriage, the death of a pet and the list of loss goes on. These losses are not lost on God our creator, provider and who Himself is our provision and our sustainer.

From the Exodus through the Exile, God demonstrates a desire to comfort his people and the ability to comfort his people. The Psalmists through the Psalms praises God for his comfort as seen in Psalm 34:18 which says, “the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

Paul an apostle and writer of most of the New Testament Epistles, I believe pick up the spirit of this theme of comfort from the Old Testament when he said, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God {2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV}.

The process of loss and grief is scary and at times it feels like one is alone. However, I would like to encourage the person who is suffering loss and going through the valley of grief that you are not alone. God has promised that he will never leave you nor forsake you, that he is the God of all comfort and he comforts us in our pain. He does this by allowing someone to walk alongside the one in pain, one who will walk the lonely and painful journey with you, but ultimately the sufferer must know that God is the ultimate comforter.

The word comfort in Hebrew is said to be unique. Comfort is divided in two overlapping words: “no*ach meaning comfortable and resting and cham or cha*ma means warm. The word ne*cha*ma is an offer of rest and easement to a troubled, suffering soul.” Comfort is “best induced by warmth and restful conditions.”

It is interesting to note that comfort in the Greek is paraklesis. It means “a calling alongside to help, to comfort, to consolation or encouragement.” The paraklete is a strengthening presence. One who upholds those appealing for assistance. The paraklete is the Holy Spirit, the one who brings comfort in the time of pain and loss—He is the comforter of all comforters.

Grief and loss is a process and it is not the same for everyone. Experts say there are five stages of grief namely, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are not linear and the sufferer can find themselves moving in and out of these stages at any time. This is based on each individual experience and there is no timetable in this process. Please know that you cannot rush through the grief, or hide it or ignore it. What you are feeling is normal and there is no right or wrong way to get through the grieving process. Take care of yourself, allow yourself to grieve by acknowledging the pain and always reach out for support.

I can remember the grief-filled unrecognizable voice on the other side of the telephone line sharing that her husband had suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 45. Left with a 7 year old, a teenage daughter and a 20 year old son, life had been shattered as if a vase was dropped on the floor. You can never repair the vase to its original form, but as you pick up the pieces, God creates a beautiful mosaic reminding us that He is there, orchestrating where all the pieces of your life will go, together with Him.

Please know when loss occurs, you can call out to the Paraklete—the Holy Spirit who is closer than any human person.

If you are experiencing a loss of any kind I wish to encourage you to hold tight to the memories for comfort, lean on your friends, your natural family and your faith community for strength, always remember how much you are loved.

For further reading on the process of loss please click on the link below

If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals.

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