Caring Christians throughout church history have recognized the tendencies toward isolation, escape, and retreat. To combat them, they have practiced sustaining.
In sustaining, we refuse to allow one another to suffer alone. We come alongside one another to grieve together. We understand that shared sorrow is endurable sorrow.
I picture sustaining with the rather macabre image of climbing in the casket. When friends despair of life and feel the sentence of death, we enter their casket experience with them.
Although I can’t be physically present with you now, and I don’t know the exact casket you’re currently enduring, I want you to know that you are not alone. And I want you to know that it’s normal to hurt and necessary to grieve.
I pray that the words you read and the applications you make will help you to begin to draw a line in the sand of retreat. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, weak. Deferred hope tempts us to give up in helplessness.
But there is help. There is hope…blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Robert Kellemen, God’s Healing for Life’s Losses, p. 22