Dr. Kellemen writes . . .
You’re tired of quick quips (“Just trust God”) and false hopes (“Time heals all wounds”). You’re ready for real and raw, honest and hopeful conversation about suffering, loss, and grief—from a Christian perspective. You’re longing for real answers, for real people, with real struggles. You’ve come to the right place. When life’s losses invade your world, learn how to face suffering face-to-face with God.
I will do a full review of the book next week, but over the next few days I want to share an interview Dr. Kellemen did concerning the main ideas behind his writing. This interview serves as a very helpful precursor and introduction to this book.
If you have recently suffered through the loss of someone close to you, or know someone who has, you will want to hear his honest, yet comforting words. In the interview, Dr. Kellemen responds to several questions related to the subject of suffering, but most importantly, how one can find hope even in the midst of great pain.
I encourage you to take the time to read his responses, and the book, it will be well worth your time.
Today's questions and responses:
10. What’s the best way to help someone who doesn’t want to talk about his or her grief?
Of course, every person is unique and every situation is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this practical question. If it’s early on in the grief process, then often the “power of presence” is very helpful—being there like’s Job’s counselors who did their best work when they were quiet.
If it’s later in the grief process and you sense that the person is in ongoing denial, then one of the most helpful things you can do is to share your own grief story. You begin to give them permission to grieve because they see that you gave yourself permission to do so. In a similar way, your own expressions of grief over their loss can also free the person to face their situation candidly.
Because people are unique, we also need to realize that not everyone faces their grief by talking a great deal about it—at least not to us. So we can invite the person to do what David did in Psalm 42:1-5 and “talk to themselves about their grief”—that’s the process of candor. And we can encourage them to talk to God about their grief—that’s the process of complaint/lament.
11. How does the Gospel inform the way that we care for people who are grieving?
I like to think of God’s Healing for Life’s Losses as a Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed approach to grief and growth. “Christ-centered” or “Gospel-centered” must take priority. There is no hope apart from Christ. There is no healing apart from Christ. And there’s no way to look at life with faith eyes, especially in the midst of painful, confusing circumstances, if we can’t look to the Cross. The Cross of Christ and the Christ of the Cross are the final proofs of God’s good heart for us. The Gospel declares the affectionate sovereignty of God. God is a Rewarder.
The Gospel takes us not only to the past work of Christ, but also to the future. We must read the end of the story where we discover that God wins! Good triumphs over evil. Hope over hurt. Healing over pain. The Gospel allows us to experience creative suffering and it is the Cross that empowers us to transform suffering. One of the consistent messages of God’s Healing for Life’s Losses is that sanctification—our increasingly likeness to Christ—is a primary reason God allows suffering. Suffering is our opportunity to know God better and to reflect Christ better. That’s creative suffering, that’s Gospel-centered grief and growth.
The interview will continue tomorrow. In the meantime you can read the Introduction here: The Introduction
And here are Three Dozen Quotes of Note on God’s Healing
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3 John 8