David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan. 2 Samuel 1:11-12 NLT
The news hit him like a bombshell. Running for his life, hiding like the criminal he wasn’t, and constantly looking over his shoulder wasn’t the life he had bargained for. Caves, wildernesses, enemy camps. Not places he enjoyed lying his head down at night. He had no choice. The king had placed a price on his head and was hunting him like a dog. Even the king’s son and his best friend couldn’t save him. Now it was finally over. The enemy had won. Saul and Jonathan lay dead on the battlefield. Words couldn’t adequately convey David’s grief.
David’s sorrow started long before the death of the king and his good friend. Because of the king’s jealousy, David had to leave his best friend and had been hiding in the wilderness for months as the maddened king sought his life. Grieving often precedes the actual grief event itself. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, detailed the stages most people experience when receiving news of their impending death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Grieving over loss or impending doom is necessary. Tears provide a healing flow. Refusing to grieve by repressing my emotional turmoil only leads to further emotional issues. When my father died, I experienced emotions as I never had before. My emotional states were necessary on my journey to acceptance.
Just as grieving follows different stages, so it also happens in various time frames. Some grieve and heal quickly while others remain in grief’s grip for months and possibly years. Only God can help us grieve properly and heal sufficiently.
Comfort for believers is found in what the apostle Paul wrote, (Y)ou must not carry on over them (the dead) like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 MSG Rather than reacting in unhealthy ways, let God help you grieve properly.
Prayer: Guide us, God of comfort and grace, to a healing state when circumstances cause us untold grief.