As the drifter was taking his seat, I told him, “My own dear wife of 33 years died suddenly in 2007. It was the worst pain I’ve ever known. It absolutely crushed me.” He said, “Then you know that you never get over it.” “On the contrary,” I said, “I know that you can! The Lord really can fully mend us even of a great grief. I am totally and completely free.” That got his attention.

He Had Only Been Living to Die

Great grief can do terrible things to us. I met him only moments earlier when he came through the doors of our Mission. He looked to be in his sixties. Disheveled, encumbered with major health issues, homeless, seeking a bus ticket to a state where he thought he had a brother still living. Lost. Whatever had divided him from his life path, he no longer sought to stand against it. His eyes said he was looking for a place to hide, or some safe place to die.

On a hunch I asked him, “How long have you been homeless?” “Six years.” “What happened?” When he told me his wife had died, I immediately asked him into my office. I was certain I could help him (with God’s help). But I only had half an hour until an unbreakable appointment would take me away for the rest of the day. You can’t ask a drifter to come back later. They rarely do. You either seize the moment or lose it forever.

Some of the homeless have settled into it for so long they can’t remember a start date. When someone does, it often means trauma. Something happened that they couldn’t process successfully, and it sank them. They’ve been stuck ever since. Unable to move forward, they sink into a cycle of despair and half-hearted exertions to get free, only to sink deeper. It’s genuine spiritual quick-sand, spread across their path by an enemy of remorseless ill-will.

Stuck in Grief, but Ready to Get Unstuck!

Great Grief - Quicksand

Great Grief Is Like Emotional Quicksand

I knew he was believing the lie that sorrow would stick to him forever. But he had to see that I had been there too, or he wouldn’t be able to receive anything from me. It’s the same with the addicted. Unless you’ve wrecked your life on a substance, they’ll rarely give you a listen, much less let you tinker around on the inside, where the real mending needs to come.

The Good Book says that we comfort others with the same comfort we received (2 Corinthians 1:4). That’s what give others hope. We were stuck in the emotional quicksand, too, but somehow God got us out. They must see our brokenness to believe what we tell them about how God’s healing comfort comes. And that healing must be genuine. Otherwise, they’ll think we’re just spouting religious platitudes. And they would be right.

Unveiling the Path of Comfort

So, I took just a moment to let him see the depth of sorrow that once engulfed me. Then, I asked him, “Would it be OK, if I told you the two things God used to heal me? Because once I walk you through them, you won’t have any choice, but to get free too.” Remember how Jesus asked someone if he wanted to get healed? Sometimes, we get attached (usually by self-pity) to the lies and half-truths that keep us bound. Some prefer that false comfort. He wanted freedom!

Even though we were short on time, I had to take him through some of the major markers. Death is a great evil. God is totally good. He is the Author of life, not death. It’s the Enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Often, he uses the death of a loved one to rob life from the one left behind. If we want to mend, we must give God our tears, but we won’t if we have wrong ideas about God. Oh yes, he had those wrong ideas, and they sank him.

Jesus says there is a blessing on those who mourn, not because death is good, but because God will heal us if we give Him the grief. Like everything else in life, however, there is a right way and a wrong way to grieve. The right way begins by “setting our hearts on pilgrimage,” then going through the “valley of Baca” (tears) to arrive “in Zion before God” (Psalm 84:5-7). Good grieving brings us closer to God and deeper into life than we were before! Bad grieving happens when we get captured by the contaminates and don’t take the journey.

WANT TO DIG DEEPER? Read excerpts full of insights from the journal I kept right after June died. It’s called “Good Grief: The Unwanted Journey.” There are many things in it that are sure to help you, or someone you love who is grieving.

Watch Out for these Contaminates!

Things like anger with God, blaming others, fear about our future, doubt and unbelief, guilt and self-blame block the tears and push us away from the Lord. Worst of all, is self-pity, the super-glue of hell. Many get stuck at the starting gate, taking years to get past the contaminates. In truth, we cannot heal until we clear our heart of these hell-infused obstacles. He admitted he had them and let me quickly comb through those issues with a prayer. Now, he was ready.

As briefly as I could, I told him my story. The first three months were a constant stream of tears. Right from the beginning I (mercifully) knew the only way out was to keep my heart clear of contaminates and give God my sorrow. I kept nearly life-size photos of June in several rooms, so I would be forced to face the grief and feel the pain. If the tears slowed down, I played our favorite songs, especially country songs. (No kidding, country works best.)

Great Grief Meets Great Grace

By the end of the third month, I drove to Florida to see my favorite cousin, with no end to the grief in sight. For five hours on the road it was constant tears. Then, Jesus suddenly was there in the passenger seat. I didn’t see Him, but His presence was that real. He said, “Both June and I believe that you have grieved enough, and we want you to let Me heal you.” I said, “If both of you are saying this, then OK.”

The truth is that our sorrow is a genuine way of honoring the life of the one we love. We rightly don’t want to leave it too soon, before it’s completed time. But if I didn’t start leaving it now that Jesus was saying the time for mending had come, I would be dishonoring Him. What? Can the Healer of our souls, not mend us from grief? Only if we withhold permission! Or, if we fail to believe He can. Or, if we refuse to take the necessary steps.

Two Steps Out of the Valley

In this case, I already suspected the two steps He would use to heal me. I had walked others through them. Now, He was walking me. The first step is a set of questions: “Is June in heaven?” Yes. “Is she happy?” Yes, (and thank You for that!). “Does she want to come back?” No, (a bit grudgingly). “Does she want you to be happy?” Yes… “Does she want you free to go on with your life?” I said yes, what else could I do? But that meant I could no longer grieve for her sake. It could only be for mine. Self-pity would all-too eagerly assist me in that.

Great Grief - Valley Climb

Are You Ready to Climb Out of the Valley?

To help me stay free of self-pity, Jesus led me to the next step. This is the hard one. He asked me to bring within my heart a Word from Him that I had kept out on the horizon as an anchor. That word is the Magnificent Promise of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I needed this hope to anchor me, but I had never brought it close, because the evil of her loss could not be paired in my heart with any thought of good. Yet.

Now was the time. I heard Jesus saying that even though her death was a great evil, and especially because it was a great evil, I now needed to believe that He could bring good out of it. Not just a small measure of good, but a good far greater than the evil inflicted by the enemy. Only that promise and that hope, believed by me, could fully heal my heart. Fortunately, this promise is one that I have no doubt about believing. I, too, know with Paul that He can do what He says. I fought thousands of battles to make it a part of my armor. (See “Depression?” for more about overcoming unbelief.)

Crossing Over to the Mended Side

By the time I reached my cousin’s an hour later, I was already on the mend. Returning to Savannah, a Holy Spirit infused moment caught me by surprise. I looked up to heaven and heard myself saying, “Is this the way others in Church history have felt, when You let the one thing that was NEVER supposed to go wrong happen? It crushed them, but You walked them through the valley of tears up onto higher ground in Zion. I would hardly have believed it in the beginning, but now I know. The devil took his best shot and You’ve miraculously brought me past surviving it, to thriving. What an amazing resurrection!”

There were pockets of tears from time to time for the next year, but the healing kept growing. To this day I love remembering everything about June, but it never wrenches at me. My life is going forward just as she would wish. I’ve taken more time going over this with you because I can. For my new-found friend, I kept it brief. We only had 30 minutes to win his freedom.

Still, he got the liberating message. I saw the light of hope and the strength of the New Man returning to his features, before saying a quick prayer and tearing out of there. Two days later the former drifter stopped by (!) to share his plans with fresh enthusiasm. I asked about the grief release and warned about falling back into self-pity. “Oh, I’m done with all that” he said with complete conviction. In my heart, I turned and kissed the sky.

I hope this message is that word of comfort you’ve been needing to get your freedom too!

WANT TO DIG DEEPER? Read excerpts full of insights from the journal I kept right after June died. It’s called “Good Grief: The Unwanted Journey.” There are many things in it that are sure to help you, or someone you love who is grieving.

Return to Healingstreamsusa

About the Author: Steve Evans

Steve EvansFor over a decade Steve Evans and Healing Streams have been helping people recover inner peace and freedom. Find out how to gain mastery over negative emotions and live with childlike freedom of spirit by taking his completely free "eCourse for Healing" at Get started now! WordPress Blank Filler for Bottom of AboutAuthor