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Loss and Grief

Loss and Grief

VIDEO: Loss and Grief

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One of the saddest things that can ever happen to a parent is to have one of their children die. It’s heart-wrenching, soul destroying and unimaginable. It’s a grief that is like no other and that lasts a lifetime.

How do parents cope? How do they bear the depth of the pain that lasts a lifetime?
The renewed grief of every missed birthday, holiday, school activity, graduation, wedding and the list and the grief goes on and on.

As a society we struggle to cope with parents losing their children. It’s so painful, it’s so unthinkable, we have trouble even talking about it. We have names for children who lose parents, we have names for husbands who lose wives and wives who lose husbands, but we have no name for parents who lose children. It’s just too painful.

However, despite the pain, some parents who have lost their child too soon, become world changers. They may start a movement, change a law, or start a crusade that will transform their loss into a legacy.

One man who understood the depth of the loss of a child was Horatio Spafford. He lost four daughters when the ship, the Ville du Harve sailing on a transatlantic voyage collided with another boat and sank in waters over 5kms deep.

Days after the sinking, Horatio’s wife, Anna was found floating on a piece of wreckage. In just 12 minutes, four young daughters were lost. It was an unimaginable family tragedy. Weeks later, as Spafford sailed across the Atlantic to be with his grieving wife, he was shown the exact place where the ship had gone down and his daughters lost.

Through the immense grief, he learnt how to move from the unimaginable pain, suffering and sorrow to commemorate his daughters and find a place of peace. It was while he was standing there in the mid-Atlantic that he began to think of the words for a song that is now a well-known and well-loved hymn.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

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

The Spaffords were devasted but not defeated by this tragedy. They responded by committing to positively changing their world by engaging in charitable work.

How did the Spaffords find this courage? Who did they turn to during this time of extreme distress? They turned to God as the one who can provide the comfort and strength. Let’s read what it says in the Bible in Matthew 5:4.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

How does the Bible say we can be comforted? Well in I Thessalonians 4:14-18, the Bible says that when you are facing loss, we can find comfort that we can see our loved ones again at Christ’s coming.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words”
I Thessalonians 4:14-18. NKJV

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