5 Profound Insights On Grief

Matt Mylin   -  

People remember sentences, not books.

I just finished reading A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis, and here are the five sentences that impacted me the most:

1) “I had yet to learn that all human relationships end in pain — it is the price that our imperfection has allowed Satan to exact from us for the privilege of love.”

This sentence is one of the most profound statements I’ve ever read on the reality of relationships.

All relationships on this side of heaven end in pain.

I’ve never thought about this before, but the end of a loving relationship will be painful — every time.

In 2010, my dad passed from a sudden heart attack. Our family had no chance to say our goodbyes. He was just gone. The quick ending of the relationship with him was painful.

In 2024, my mom passed away after suffering for six months from a lymphoma diagnosis. That period allowed us to say a long goodbye, which was hard, beautiful, and sacred. I will treasure those final conversations with her as she was transitioning from this life to eternity. The not-so-quick ending of the relationship with her was also painful.

People attempt to be comforting by saying, “It’s a loss, but you’ll see them again.” I know that to be true in my head, but my emotions tell me otherwise. If it’s not goodbye but see you later, why does the goodbye hurt?

This brings me face to face with a hard question: If the end of a loving relationship is painful every time, is love worth it?

Jesus taught the greatest commandment is to love one another. The greatest act of love is to lay down your life for another person. Love unselfishly, expecting nothing in return.

The sacrificial love of others is the highest call of a follower of Jesus.

Is the pain of love ending worth it?

Jesus wept after he saw Martha and Mary feel the pain of the loss of their brother Lazarus, who died. He was acquainted with the deepest grief. In that moment, he made this statement:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25).

Loss is temporary.

Love lasts forever.

Love is the behavior we will do for all eternity. It only ends temporarily because of death. There will be pain and suffering. The human body resists pain.

Pain is a signal that is intended to get your attention.

“But be assured,” Paul says. “These present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17). 

2) “Fate (or whatever it is) delights to produce a great capacity and then frustrate it. Beethoven went deaf.”

For the first half of my life, I would get stuck on questions like: Why would God allow good people to experience pain and suffering? Why would God cut someone’s life short when it seems like they have more good to contribute?

Beethoven went deaf. God created this German-born composer with enormous talent from a young age. Despite facing increasing deafness as he got older, he continued composing prolifically. Why would God allow that?

Now that I’m in the second half of my life, I realize asking why is a misdirection. God’s answer is a redirection.

When I’m tempted to ask why, I remember God’s wisdom surpasses human wisdom. The more helpful question to ask myself is, “Do you trust God’s wisdom, even when you don’t understand?”

3) “Bridge players tell me that there must be some money on the game or else people won’t take it seriously. Apparently, faith is like that.” 

In other words, your belief in God and your trust in God’s wisdom will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it.

You will only discover how serious your faith is and how serious you are once the stakes are raised incredibly high.

4) “I wonder if…bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love.”

Lewis observes that loss follows love just like marriage follows dating or as autumn follows summer. Grief is not an interruption of a loving relationship but the next stop on this journey called love.

Death is the ultimate separation.

For the Christian, death is temporary but still a loss on this side of heaven. The Creator makes everything beautiful for its time. Thus, there is a time to mourn and a time to dance.

5) “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t.”

Like a good teacher, God gives his people tests. A test is not for you to show God how you will respond. He already knows.

Tests reveal what’s inside of you.

Once you see tests in Scripture, you can’t unsee them in your life. Tests are opportunities to show you where your allegiance really lies and if your motives for obedience are genuinely pure.

Submitting to God’s authority in the face of ultimate temptation will prove to you that nothing can ever draw you away from him.

Genuine allegiance demands real choice.

Don’t be surprised. You will be tested in the area where you are most susceptible to giving your allegiance to something other than God. True devotion must have two options.

Passing the test leads to the most incredible level of freedom humans can experience: to love and be loved, to know God and be known by him, and to have joy in every situation.

I hope this helps. Have an amazing week!