Purple and Clay: 6 Lessons I learnt from Grief
In April 2017, I lost a really good friend of mine. It was the most unexpected and shocking thing that had happened to me in a long time. Prior to the day she died, I had been feeling really heavy but didn’t know what was wrong. After a while, I couldn’t prepare for my exams anymore because of the feeling of heaviness. I spent hours and hours praying in tongues and trying to get clarity on what I was feeling but nothing was coming forth as to why I was feeling heavy. It was when I heard the news that I understood why.
Everything happened so quickly and a lot of people around me were hurting. Even people that didn’t know her personally were hurting from the news. She touched and impacted a lot of lives even while she was here and in her death. I think the first thing I said to God after I heard the news was ‘’ABBA, my friend is dead’’ like He didn’t already know. I could barely sleep for the first few days, I’d be walking on the road and just want to breakdown in tears. I felt very cheated. I felt like I didn’t pray enough…I wanted to understand why God had let it happen. After a while, because there were so many people around me hurting and there was so much to do, I had to put myself together and be strong for myself and the people around me. She is dead, we miss her but she is in a better place. After a few days, I stopped grieving… or so I thought.
A few weeks later, I went to London for the holy nations summit. At the 4th session of the summit, during the praise and worship time when the atmosphere was really packed with God’s power and presence I felt like my mind was being attacked with doubts. Everyone was worshipping and really soaking in the atmosphere but I was lost in thought. I found myself thinking…”God, I have no doubt that You are here and You are so powerful, but where were You when my friend died? You have power and might but why did You allow my friend to die? She was only 18. You said we will heal the sick and raise the dead if we believe. I believe, why can’t I heal the sick or raise the dead?’’ And then I started crying. There were so many people around me, but I don’t think anyone noticed. They were all lost in worship and probably thought that I was just worshipping God as well.
In this period of loss and grief, there were so many things that God used the situation to teach me.
1, I think God allowed the episode at Holy nation’s summit to happen because He wanted me to be aware that I was still hurting very much even if I didn’t think so and I didn’t seem to be hurting anymore to others. He wanted me to know that He is more aware of the condition of my heart than I am. He is not just aware, he is very concerned as well. He understands that I want to be strong and be there for everybody, but He cares about me well enough to draw me when I am hurting. No matter what we go through, God wants to go through it with us. He sees, He is aware, and He is always near to us. When we cry, He is present with us. He is not intimidated by our fears, tears and questions.
2, I learnt that sometimes God gives us answers the way we want it and would understand it, other times His presence is answer enough. This is a bit weird to explain, but every time I found myself crying, I felt God’s hand on my back like a father consoling me and I also had immeasurable peace. I don’t have an explanation as to why I lost my friend, but God was with me and my friends in that period. The peace He gave us did not take away the hurt, but it really helped that He was helping us through the pain.
3, I have heard a lot of people say we should never question God, and we should accept whatever comes to us whether good or bad. I recognise God as Lord over my life and respect his sovereignty, but I also believe that He wants me to seek knowledge and understanding. The word of God says that we should seek and we will find. I had questions, I wanted to understand a lot of things about death, and I don’t think that God was upset that I wanted to gain knowledge. Sometimes He gave me answers, other times, His presence was enough. It was in my searching that I had a better understanding of life after death and the role of the Holy Spirit as our comforter. It was in seeking that I truly began to understand who God is, not just what He can do.
4, My friend lived a short life, but she lived a great life. She expressed God’s heart in all that she did. We celebrate all her achievements, projects and businesses, but these things were only a by-product of her intimacy and relationship with God. I hear people say my friend’s death has challenged them to do more with their lives. That is great, but that is not the main point. The most important thing is to be so one with God that we do everything He wants us to do and express His heart everywhere we go.
5, Godly wisdom is very important if we are to properly empathise with others. Because we are not wearing other people’s shoes, it can be very difficult to understand how they are hurting. In times like that, we need the Holy spirit to help us know what to say and how to say it. I really valued the people around me who expressed God’s heart to me. They didn’t just say ‘’Don’t cry’’, the listened to me cry and held my hand. They cried with me. The prayed with me, they worshipped with me even when I didn’t feel like worshipping.
6, If there was ever a time I didn’t value the church… the body of Christ around me, that changed during that period. I saw how different people, even people that did not know me, my friends or even Kika stood by us during that period. I felt love and support from people that had our best interest at heart even if they didn’t know us like that. I know that people were praying from us. I saw how powerful the body of Christ can be when we come together and understand the role we play in each other’s lives both directly and indirectly. It made me want to be even more a part of this body. This body that is so powerful in love and somehow brought much peace and support during my time of need.
It took me a while to finally write this, and I really pray that it helps/blesses someone going through a difficult time. Sometimes God will not take the fire away, but He will be with you as you go through it. Sometimes, you won’t have the answers, but His presence will be enough.
I pray that God will give us the grace and ability to empathise with other people going through difficult situations and because we are one body irrespective of ethnicity or background, I pray that He helps us cry with others when they cry and celebrate with others when they are celebrating.
Light and Love.x