How does anyone move on past loss and grief?
I witnessed through the TV news and presentations the wonderful outpouring of the true Australian Spirit. I saw professional organisations working together and alongside ordinary Australians, rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help. Whether it was with a shovel and broom in hand, or cooking for the volunteers, or through the raising of money to give much financial assistance, or grief counselling and prayer; care and support were demonstrated.
When we lose something that is precious to us, our immediate reaction is to think that we have lost our sense of security, our sense of worth or even our sense of significance. This can happen whether it is loss of a home, an income or – more significantly – a loved one.
The journey back to a sense of normalcy is definitely not an easy road to move along, we need to get past pain and loss. But we can move on successfully when others come around us, and truly listen to our burdens and reach out and touch us with genuine help, love, encouragement and prayer. We need support, not just for the initial crisis but we need friends in there with us for the long haul of recovery.
That then strengthens us to keep on keeping on, to move forward past pain and loss.
We soon discover that when many of the things we hold dear are gone, the greatest thing of all is the gift of each other and the love shown for one another all working together in unity through the many and diverse gifts that we have.
My personal loss three months ago was the death of my dear Father who died of cancer. Making the journey alongside a loved one through an illness is no easy road to travel. I could only ever watch from the sidelines, no matter how much of the caring I was involved with, personally.
I found that it was the strength of my faith in God that helped me to cling to the rock of hope. It was the faith of others who came alongside me with encouragement and prayer that helped sustain me during this time. And it was the genuine assistance of others who helped in the ordinary tasks like cooking.
Every day wasn't just precious; it was every moment of every day that was precious both for him and for our family. And it was the love that he had for the Lord Jesus Christ that sustained him. In Galatians 6:2 it says to "Share each other's burdens and in this way obey the law of Christ. And the greatest command of all is to love our neighbours as ourselves."
So whether it is through the tragic events that take place through nature, fire, floods or cyclones when you might experience the loss of your home and personal possessions or the loss of income or loss of health; or whether it is through the death of a dear loved one - it is through the generous love that we share one with another, carrying each others burdens, that helps us to rise above the challenges of life.
It is written that we are to be devoted to one another in brotherly 'love'; this is embodied in the first commandment which is about the love of God. I am so proud of being an Australian, and witnessing the outpouring of love for each other in these natural crises, for it is love that heals the broken hearted.
I have found that the Lord is indeed close to the broken hearted, and that my true security, my self-worth and significance comes from my teacher of love, Jesus Christ himself, who demonstrated to us the greatest love gift of all - the gift of Himself.