You may be strong enough to carry someone out of a burning fire, but are you strong enough to help those handle grief when your own physical strength is no longer helpful? This is when spiritual strength is needed. As people grieve the loss of lives in Orlando, it reminds me of the need to strengthen our spiritual muscles and flex our faith.
If you are new to following me, I mostly post fitness tips, workouts and product reviews, but it would be irresponsible of me to focus purely on our physical fitness and ignore our spiritual fitness. If we truly want to be fit, inside and out, we should exercise both our fitness and our faith.
Steve and I went to Orlando yesterday to have a play date with our dogs since there are several dog-friendly shopping areas. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before we realized something was wrong.
I had not heard the news of the Orlando mass shooting prior to our trip. As I checked out of one store, I heard 2 employees discuss the tragedy. One seemed like she was still in shock. The other one obviously deeply saddened. Both had a look of complete despair. I saw no peace, no joy, no hope. Just emptiness and hopelessness.
I wanted to post something yesterday in response, but I didn’t want to post without praying about what I’d post first. I started looking up scriptures in search for the write words because I knew my own words would not be sufficient. I kept going back to this scripture in Psalms.
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalms 147:3
Whether you are a Christian or not, everyone experiences grief and loss at some point in their life. But, it’s our response to that grief that can have the most impact. Ironically, some of the people who were not directly effected by the loss of lives can be the most responsive – and not always in a way that is really beneficial.
In a senseless act of such violence, it’s normal to want to blame someone or to understand why it even happened, but (in my opinion) this is not a time to jump on social media and post rants about gun policies, hate crimes, homosexuality or any other issues. It’s time to share love, comfort and hope. People are hurting, scared, discouraged and need comforting.
While people will always want an explanation for these kinds of things, the only explanation is that as long as we have sin in this world we will have grief, so we need to be prepared for it. We need to be “FIT” to handle it. And, we need to be FIT to be help others.
5 Ways to Prepare for Loss
1. We can’t be surprised.
“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:10-12
Scripture warns us of how people will act. This text explains how to get through these times by not turning from faith, loving each other and standing firm.
2. How we love others is a reflection of our love for God.
‘‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’…’Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.‘ Matthew 25:40, 45
We are reminded how to treat “the least of these”. I love how He used a phrase where we would automatically fill in the blank ourselves. We may first think he was speaking of the Jews or maybe the poor, hungry, thirsty or naked. However, I love that it is not specific so the only answer is to do it for everyone in every need.
In this case, people don’t need clothes, food or water but they need blood. So, if you desire to show your support, you could share God’s love by donating blood and praying for God to heal their hearts as well as their bodies.
Love is a choice, not a feeling. It’s an action. They will know us by our love.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
3. You must have hope to give hope.
Death is imminent. It is foolish not to think about it, plan for it and expect it. Sadly, it’s such a bummer to think about, so many people avoid talking about it at all – but death is basically the one thing we can all count on. We don’t know when, how, where or why, but we know that it’s unavoidable so why not be prepared?
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 11:25-26
We can’t give something we don’t first have. If we want to give hope, we must first have hope ourselves.
4. We should prepare our loved ones for our own passing.
God tells us how to have comfort in where we are going – and how to give our loved ones comfort when we pass. One of the saddest things to me is to see someone grieve even more because they are unsure of their loved one’s eternity. Your choice not only affects you, it affects those who love you.
There is no greater peace than knowing we are right with the Lord (not perfect, but right). That, in of itself, can allow us to handle anything – even death. And, what a gift it is for the ones left behind so they can have peace.
However, it’s not enough to just believe. Our life should reflect our profession of faith, otherwise conflicts will stir up doubt and a lack of peace for those left behind. If we really want to give our loved ones peace, our life should support our faith.
5. Seek Him every day.
“I want to be the kind of person who gives more than he’s taken.”
Death happens every day. Someone around us is grieving every single day. While people in Orlando are directly impacted by the loss of lives all at once, there are people in my direct circles who are dealing with losses. Just this morning, one of our gym members lost her husband. Whether someone dies of cancer or a gunshot, people need comfort and prayers daily. Let’s not wait for a huge event to act.
Last night, an actor on one of our favorite shows responded at the end of the episode to a question “what do you want to be when you grow up” and he said “I want to be the kind of person who gives more than he’s taken.” What a beautiful picture of how God desires us to be.
If we want to be FIT to handle grief, to be helpful to others and to give comfort, we have to train for it. We have to prepare for death ourselves and prepare to love people who are grieving. How do we do this? We have to seek the Lord and let him comfort us first in our own trials – big or small. Once we we experience this ourselves, we will have a lot more love to give to others. <3
He “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
Here is another great blog I found: 5 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Orlando Shooting