by Rick Warren

“Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8b NLT)

The Bible says when you go through a season of loss, the first thing you need to do is release your grief.

Tragedy always produces strong emotions — anger, fear, depression, worry, and sometimes guilt. These feelings are scary to us, and we don’t know what to do with them. When we have experienced a major loss, these enormous feelings bubble up within us. If you don’t deal with them now, it will take you far longer to recover.

Some of you have never dealt with grief in your life. You’re stuffers. You push it down. You pretend it’s not there. You play like it doesn’t exist. That’s why you’re still struggling with emotional stress in your life from losses that occurred 20 or 30 years ago.

There’s a myth that says God wants you to walk around with a smile on your face all the time saying, “Praise the Lord!” The Bible doesn’t say that anywhere.

In fact, Jesus taught the exact opposite. In Matthew 5:4, he says, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (NLT). It’s OK to grieve. When somebody is a Christian, we know he goes on to Heaven, so we don’t grieve like the world. We’re not grieving for their sake; we’re grieving for our own sake, because we’re going to miss them.

What do you do with your feelings? You’ve got to deal with them. You must release your grief. You don’t repress it or stuff it down. You don’t rehearse it and go over and over it in your mind. You release it — you give it to God. You cry out to God, “God, I’m hurt! I’m grieving! This is a tough one to take.” If you want a good example of this, read through the book of Psalms, where many times David spills his guts and says, “God, I’m in a tough time right now. I am really, really hurting.” You cry out to God, just like David did.

Psalm 62:8 says, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” Those of you who are going through a loss right now need to understand that if you don’t release your grief, it will pour out eventually. Feelings that are pushed down fester, and eventually they explode in a much worse situation.

Release your grief first so that God can begin to heal your heart.

Talk It Over

  • What are some misconceptions in the world that keep us from being comfortable with releasing our grief?
  • What grief or loss in your life have you not dealt with? How do you think it has affected you?