Dec 19, 2022
A decade ago, The New York Times ran a moving
article about a professor whose son died from a drug
overdose. There's a lot to mull over in this article, including
issues of ADHD, drug use, and the nature of boys in school. But the
author Ted Gup reflects on a move in American psychiatry to include
some forms of grief as a form of mental illness (according to the
D.S.M.). In his article titled Diagnosis: Human, Gup
writes this insightful paragraph:
‘Ours is an age in which the airwaves and media are one large drug emporium that claims to fix everything from sleep to sex. I fear that being human is itself fast becoming a condition. It's as if we are trying to contain grief, and the absolute pain of a loss like mine. We have become increasingly … uncomfortable with the messiness of our own humanity, aging and, ultimately, mortality. Challenge and hardship have become pathologized and monetized. Instead of enhancing our coping skills, we undermine them and seek shortcuts where there are none.’
For the last few weeks in this sermon series, The Gift Exchange, we have focused on the feelings of worry and hurt. On Sunday we will talk about how God wants to help us with our emotion of grief. One of the unfortunate realities of our culture, as highlighted in Gup's article, is that "we have become increasingly uncomfortable with the messiness of our own humanity."
Feelings, emotions are a real part of being human. God literally created us with these emotions, in fact the Bible describes God as likewise expressing these same emotions. The problem is that avoiding or ignoring them has caused many people, maybe even you, to seek out unhealthy, even harmful ways of dealing with hurts, worry, and grief. So what is the solution?
Is it possible that the one who created us has healthy and helpful ways of not only coping with our grief and hurt...but also supply healing and restoration?
Scripture is full of real people, just like you and me who have
dealt with emotions like worry, hurt and grief. Take David for
example. He dealt with the deaths of his best friend, his mentor, a
son, and a child just to name a few. He's very open about his hurt
and grief, but listen to what he he does with his grief:
David took his emotion and grief and presented it to God (Hear me, Lord), and in return God provided him with joy. On Sunday, we will unpack more of Psalm 30 and discover how we can give our grief to God in exchange for his gift of joy.
If you want to learn more, please give a listen to the conclusion of The Gift Exchange.