"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear."
- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
I will admit there are a lot of things no one tells you about grief. They don’t tell you because few really know these truths. Well, we know them but are fearful of embracing them. The human heart just won’t allow us to embrace this depth of pain, fear and even doubt. Grief has a powerful and strange resemblance to fear.
This morning I received news of yet another man who has lost his precious wife in an automobile accident. My heart goes out to this husband and father of four boys in his loss and the fear that accompanies living without her. In grief, the circumstances of our lives can be overwhelming.
Being touched by death transforms your lifestyle, sobers your mind and changes your life forever. I recall having brief flashes of what my life would be like if I ever lost Tammy. The last time this happened was just a week or so before she was killed. I remember that I couldn’t sit in the thought for long because of fear. So I swatted the thought away like a fly and went on my merry way.
Grief feels like fear because it leaves you staggering in uncertainty. If you think about it, though, most of the things that give us a sense of certainty are false. What do I do? Where do I turn next? How do I move forward? Do I even want to move at all? The only lasting source of certainty is Jesus Christ.
Grief feels like fear because fear, in a sense, becomes reality. You’re in it and don't quite know what to do with it. It’s your worst nightmare come true. At that moment, you cling to God's Truth, and you by faith accept that the Lord is near. Psalm 34:18 says, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." He comforts those who walk through this valley with the comfort of His nearness. We give Him our fear, trusting that He is good.
Grief feels so much like homesickness, deep pain, longing that will never be satisfied…and yes, it feels like fear. Psalm 23:4 promises “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Throughout Scripture God's answer for our grief and fear is nearness. He comes to us in our hour of sorrow. The invisible God draws near. His answer to our fear is to draw near.