Often when we hear or speak about Spiritual warfare we are speaking in context of a fight of sorts. An ongoing battle for the soul waged against the unseen through manifestations or ailments that are very obvious. However this is not always the case, most often what we tackle and deal with daily are those life challenges that bring with them Spiritual challenges. One common area and the subject of this article, part #2 of this seven part series is grief, and grieving and Spiritual warfare.
The Nature of Grief
Grief has many faces
The reality is grief is something that we will all experience at some time during out lives. With loss, sudden or profound change or even psychological attacks on self and self worth (i.e. loss of perceived self or perspective) or another areas of our lives grief comes – and often sets up house.
Grief has many faces and sadly in our human condition it is a matter of when not if. But how often do we tackle this Spiritually? Often I would argue we are too embroiled in our emotions (and that’s OK for a time). We often cannot stop long enough to even consider how we might use prayer and our relationship with God to help us get through it.
More often than not, and as a very normal part of the grieving process we will spend time bargaining, arguing and railing against God for a resolution. A solution that we hope with take away the pain and stop us having to experience something that we are not at all comfortable with. Often times any other sort of prayer for help comes at the end, when we have reached the stage of acceptance and need a hand to pick ourselves up.
This has its own purpose because we realise when we stop fighting that He was there all along, He hadn’t abandoned us but rather was simply waiting for us to be still and come to him in our own time. It is in these times that true transformation and healing often takes place.
But what of the process proper? Where is the Spiritual battle? Is there not some way that we can find the strength to muddle through prayer and find solace in the scarcity of control?
Thankfully yes there is, because when we are out of control is when God is most in control. The Father has the space to act, behind the scenes and keep us moving forward and hold us together. Most often we don’t see because we feel out of control. But that doesn’t mean our Father is.
Proactively seeking the Father
I spoke in part #1 of this series about using prayer as an offensive weapon, that the best defense was a good offense, and in grief this is just as true. We know when disaster strikes that we will be numb, we won’t know what to do or how to feel, little-own how to act. We seek wisdom of our own understanding, looking for answers rather than seek to pray things through.
Ecc. 1:18 notes ‘For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge the more grief.’ (NIV) In other words when we seek wisdom without God we become frustrated, frustration leads to anger and in turn more grief. Such is the process.
However what happens when instead we begin to understand things in light of God’s will? When we pray for wisdom and emotional protection and for Him to bring us through in His will, not our own. All of a sudden our brokenness has become a prayer offensive. A show of force against darkness that is playing on the situation in our lives.
Likewise, when we maintain an active prayer life those lines of communication are already open. Our Spiritual troops and internal Spiritual defenses are already in place and holding the line. The troops are in place because God heard our prayers the first time. All the time through our communication with Him we were together fortifying our defenses.
The Why Question?
Inevitably we are going to ask the question ‘Why?’ . ‘Why did God let it happen?’, ‘Why me’ etc. But maybe, just maybe we are simply not asking the right question. Perhaps what we should really be asking is when and who.
That is, it happened on Golgotha to Jesus Christ. Our access to a loving God, to be able to question the things we don’t understand, to have access to the Father all came about because of Christs sacrifice on the Cross. Likewise, our authority to command angels and intercede against those things that would try to keep us apart from the Father also came about through that single act of Grace.
You may be thinking about now that the above avoids the question, even that God avoids our questions. But when in fact it poses the very question at the core of our concern. Do we trust God, no matter how hard or confused or painful things seem to be acting in our best interest and on our behalf? -Just as He did on the Cross.
When we cry out, we often cry out not just for an answer but for one we are happy with. But many things are and always will remain the mysteries of God, He remains sovereign and in control. Should He give us an honest and direct answer we simply may not in our fallen state be able to comprehend its true meaning.
There is peace to be found in being out of control, knowing there is someone and something bigger than ourselves.
In an earlier piece I wrote about Butterfly-faith and the butterfly effect on our faith. In similarity to the butterfly effect we rarely see the roll on affect of any one event, and certainly not to the extent that God sees it. We are human, we are finite and our extent of understanding to a significant degree is limited to our condition, particularly if viewed from a cosmological and eschatological view-point.
Again in Ecc 1:9 we read ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again and; there is nothing new under the sun’ (NIV). Although what we are experiencing is devastating for us, for God it is also part what has been and what will be again in His Creation. It often seems of little comfort but it draws a picture of a God well beyond our own understanding of what we see unfolding in front of us and feel happening around us. There is peace to be found in being out of control, knowing there is someone and something bigger than ourselves.
The Prayer Offensive
To look to Spiritual warfare proper in context to grief prayer as in most areas is our greatest weapon. But using a weapon effectively also takes practice, training and building of certain relationship with that weapon until it is an extension of ourselves. Martial artists would regard it as muscle memory- you act out of where your body automatically has trained itself to go.
Acting Spiritually and emotionally is no different. If our first response is prayer, then our first response will remain prayer. Instead of praying because we are in trouble, we have already been praying and therefore better prepared to respond to adversity, more prepared to act and possibly even aware of what is to come. But again it is a relationship and therefore not one-sided. We need to listen for that still small voice of peace that is the Father. We need to be practiced enough to know it when we hear it. And we need to be sure enough in our relationship with God to be obedient to it.
Prayer alone is not our only weapon, nor our only defense as noted in part #1 , but it is nonetheless indispensable in dealing with grief and loss.
© Andrew Jewell – wedgetailministries.com