In Living with Grief, Pastor Kristian Kincaid talks about three major impacts of grief: emotional, physical, and spiritual. The impacts of grief occur when the mind and body are thrown out of what psychology calls “homeostasis,” or balance. Realistically, no one grieves in strict outlined stages or at the same pace. Grief often lingers long after losing a loved one. For believers, grief’s impacts are diminished with the comfort of Christ.
Emotional Impacts of Grief
From an outsider’s perspective, the emotional impacts of grief are perhaps the easiest to see. Many people find that the emotional impact slowly lessens, but others may live in a state of prolonged grief. Pastor Kincaid writes that the emotional impacts of grief include denial, shock, anger, oversensitivity, distress, preoccupation, and anxiety. “Our emotions are fluid and flow across a wide spectrum, reminding us that grief is a complex, not simple, matter. These emotive impacts are cyclical in nature, not linear. They ebb and flow and are not progressive.”
There is never a point where these feelings are fully overcome on their own. Although the five stages of grief seemingly point to the final stage of acceptance, in reality, people do not ever truly move on and become emotionally detached from their grief. It’s the comfort that believers take in the Savior that helps them reach a state of normalcy, knowing He will never leave His people, even in their grief.
Physical Impacts of Grief
During the initial shock of losing someone, the physical impacts of grief are easy to see. Nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and even insomnia are apparent in the aftermath. Pastor Kincaid writes, “I have heard people say they have no energy, feeling as if someone has punched them in the stomach, making it hard to breathe, move, or eat. I have seen some bedridden with grief and some who became ill several weeks or months after their spouse died. … I have seen people fall to their knees in sorrow. To say someone is brokenhearted is not figurative language.”
Spiritual Impacts of Grief
What makes Living with Grief different from any other book on grief is that Pastor Kincaid focuses on the spiritual burdens of grief, unlike many psychologists, who focus on emotions. But the spiritual warfare that the soul experiences hurts just as much as emotional pain. “Grief is a most vulnerable time spiritually. We wonder why the Lord allowed this to happen to us. We can doubt His loving kindness. We can become angry and confused in our pain. Satan unceasingly seeks to reopen wounds and infect us with his poisonous venom.”
During this time, those who grieve may doubt God or wonder why such a loving and merciful Father would take their loved one away. The same questions can turn them against God, causing believers to reject His Word and become angry. Rather, all believers and nonbelievers should be turning to God, leaning deeper into Him who comforts all who grieve with His peace that surpasses all understanding.
God’s Impact on Grief
In tough times, turn to Christ and receive His comforts. Remember your Baptism and His everlasting love for His people. “The Lord comforts His children,” Kincaid writes. “I think of the precious souls once agonized, angry, and blaming God. Through the godly counsel of His Word, their anger abates, their questions fade, their Bible is open, their pew occupied, their soul fed, their lips confessing Christ, and Satan has no wheat to sift.”
Christ is always there, promising to never abandon those who believe in Him, even when we turn away. Take comfort in knowing that Christ offers eternal life and loved ones now rejoice with Him in heaven.
To read about the impacts of grief, and Pastor Kinacid’s words of hope in Christ, purchase Living with Grief today.