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:
12. In God’s Healing, you contrast the world’s typical stages of grieving with God’s way. Review the typical five stages of grieving and share why you believe they are incomplete.
Students of human grief have developed various models that track typical grief responses. Swiss-born psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, popularized a five-stage model of grieving based upon her research into how terminally ill persons respond to the news of their terminal illness. Her five stages have since been used worldwide to describe all grief responses: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
These proposed stages in the grief process seek to track typical grief responses. However, they do not attempt to assess if this is what is best to occur. Nor could they assess, simply through scientific research, whether these responses correspond to God’s process for hurting (grieving) and hoping (growing). We must understand something about research in a fallen world. At best, it describes what typically occurs. It cannot, with assurance and authority, prescribe what should occur.
13. In a big picture way, contrast the world’s five stages with the biblical approach.
The first four stages in biblical grieving compare and contrast with the first four stages in the typical response to suffering. Stage One: Candor—Honesty with Myself: We move from denial and isolation to candor: honesty with ourselves. Stage Two: Complaint—Honesty with God: We move from anger and resentment to complaint: honesty with God. Stage Three: Cry—Asking for God’s Help: We move from bargaining and works to crying out to God: asking God for help. Stage Four: Comfort—Receiving God’s Help: We move from depression and alienation to comfort: receiving God’s help.
The fifth and final phase in the world’s grieving process: acceptance. The goal is to face calmly the finality of loss. If it is one’s own impending death, then it’s a time of quiet resignation. If it is the loss of a loved one, or a relationship, or a job, then it’s a time of regrouping. In Christ, loss is never final. Christ’s resurrection is the first-fruit of every resurrection. Acceptance can’t halt retreat because it has no hope for advancement, no foundation for growth. I refuse to accept the hopeless remedy of acceptance. So God’s Healing for Life’s Losses then journeys with people through four aspects of the growth process: moving from regrouping to waiting (when God says, “Not yet”), from deadening to wailing (pregnant with hope), from despairing to weaving (spiritual mathematics), and from digging cisterns to worshipping (finding God).
14. In your eight biblical stages of grief and growth you emphasize that they are a relational process, not sequential steps. What do you mean by that and why is it so important?
Grieving and growing is not a neat, nice package. It isn’t a tidy procedure. Grieving and growing is messy because life is messy. Moving through hurt to hope is a two-steps-forward, one-step-backwards endeavor. We don’t “conquer a stage” and never return to it. Rather than picturing a linear, step-by-step route, imagine a three dimensional maze with many possible paths, frequent detours, backtracking, and even the ability to reside in more than one “stage” at the same time. However, positive movement is possible. In fact, it is promised. You can find God’s healing for your losses. You can find hope in your hurt.
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