Thursday, June 07, 2007

GOD on Mute Part 4

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes the five stages of grief (death and dying) as follows:
1. Denial: I don’t believe it. This can’t be happening to me.
2. Anger: I don’t deserve this. GOD is not fair.
3. Bargaining: Please, GOD/doctor, if you heal me, I’ll do anything for you.
4. Depression: What’s the point? My situation is hopeless.
5. Acceptance: I need to get on and make the most of life within these limitations.

Greig goes on to comment on p. 95
“Coming to terms with God’s will may sometimes takes us through similar stages of grief. The process by which we arrive at a place of Godly acceptance often involves various emotional responses that are both messy and confusing. When you talk with people with an amazing attitude toward suffering, you invariably discover that they have not always been so joyful or brave. Even the Son of God wrestled for a protracted period before He reached the necessary place of acceptance, praying, “Your will be done.”

What are your thoughts to Greig and Kubler-Ross?


Misty B said...

Although I am not totally sold on the stages of grief, I think the point that there is a process we naturally go through to find a place of healing is very true. I find it refreshing when people are not only willing to admit that but to embrace it as part of all of our journey. I think about the Psalms and how many of them start expressing anger and frustration with God and end in worship.

I believe that more people need to be willing to talk about the difficult and dark parts of accepting God's will. I find so much hope in the message that being in the dark does not mean God has abandoned me. Imagine you are standing at the end of a tunnel calling someone out to the light. You are blocking the light. That person needs a companion to walk beside them and show them where the light is.

Anonymous said...

If the point is to draw attention to the human condition - that none of us ever really "have it all together" even those that seem at times to be at peace with God's difficult will, then I understand the reference.

While I understand Kubler-Ross originally (1969) developed this list as a result of studying the responses and coping mechanisms of the terminally ill, my understanding is they were originally coined, "The 5 Stages of Receiving Catastrophic News."

Actually, any change can mean loss and any loss can cause grief. Throughout one's day, one may go through various stages of grief responses even to simple challenges.

One writer gives a simpler day-to-day example of a car battery dieing. We experience denial - checking other things first, then anger noting our transportation has been obstructed, then bargaining - trying to find a solution, depression - realizing we are going to be late for our commitment, and finally acceptance, calling in and making arrangements for repairs.

So, how we deal with grief depends on the size of the catastrophic news. I believe we go in and out of grief which is why one minute we may seem to have "come to terms" and the next are "shaking our fist at God" again. This is why the Christian life is one that demands constant renewal of one's faith; taking one's thoughts captive; turning to trusted advisors to change our perspective, and so forth.

Anonymous said...

"Coming to terms with God’s will..." I am shocked that someone would even think that it was God's will that we would experience grief. His ultimate plan is to wipe all of our tears away. His ultimate plan is that we are to be redeemed. God's will is not that we should loose a loved one. God's will is not that a child would die. God's will is not that someone would have life long illness. These things are a direct result of sin in the world (not one person's sin in particular).

I have a daughter with autism and if it were God's will that she had this illness, then why would he have brought her along so much? It is impossible to say why God heals some and doesn't heal others. But I can tell you this much - it is God's will that all are healed.

I will never accept ilness as God's will. I will never accept death as God's will.

However, death is something that we will have to deal with in this life, so is illness. We should never get used to these things. We need to build our faith and set our sights on things above.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Stephanie said...

AMEN Lexi!!!!

Anonymous said...

Of course his ultimate plan is to see that we are Happy and Free from pain and suffering & to wipe away our tears. But to often we, even christian don't reach that place of surrender and acceptance at what life throws at us - that's the truth, sometimes hard to admit. We sometimes don't want to hear it that way, but until we accept it - we can never change our situation to turn to good. In which case you get stuck in the denial, blaming others, bargaining and spirling into depression perhaps, until you come to a place of acceptance.

I think Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & Greig are bang on in terms of defining the stages we go through when we face pain/loss.

Of course it's not Gods will for us to live with pain. I don't think that's what they are trying to say in the book, but it is his will for us to live free. To come to a place of acceptance and surrender 'our' attitudes and fears and anger and pride to him, so that we live in freedom.

Held Captive said...

Simply put, Gods will is to see us in Heaven with Him...Finally free from pain...finally truely free!

Anonymous said...

I didn't say that we should expect to be free from pain and loss. I said that it wasn't God's will for us to be hurting. We do have to go through grief. But we can rest in knowing that it is not God's will that our circumstances are not his will or doing.

novice said...

I agree with a lot of what you say, Lexi, but I am very uncomfortable with this idea - "But we can rest in knowing that it is not God's will that our circumstances are not his will or doing."

Of course God doesn't want us to suffer. As you pointed out, though, sin exists, and we live in a fallen world. So God works within that, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28) Not that everything is ideal in a fallen world, but God works it for our good.

His will, His plan for us, involves guiding us through suffering. "He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." (Psalm 23, 3-4)

I don't want to oversimplify because suffering is always worse when people give you pat answers for it - and there are no simple answers. Suffering is a hard subject and I've struggled with coming to terms with God's will when faced with these things. As much as I've fought with God over suffering or loss I think it would be far worse to imagine that I was somewhere outside of His will and He was not walking me down that path and there was no reason for it.

Scriptures like this one are hard for me to understand but they give me comfort that suffering is not outside of God's will - "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 'Teacher,' his disciples asked him, 'why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?' 'It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins,' Jesus answered. 'He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him.'" (John 9:1-3)

Sometimes all I can do is wait to see God's power in my struggles. There's no easy formula and God's will is His own - some days that's enough and some it isn't. I really believe it matters, though, that God's will encompasses both the good things and the hard things that happen to us.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you say. I certainly did not want to come across as saying that our suffering was not within the will of God, so he just leaves us high and dry. All I am saying is that if it were up to God, we wouldn't suffer. We do however and He is right there with us.

I can rest in knowing that He has only good things in mind for me. His will is not that I would suffer, but he is so gracious that He walks aside me as I do.