God’s Word doesn’t ignore or trivialise the painful realities of life. Inevitably, we and our loved ones will experience life’s losses. Things like illness, ageing, death, divorce, disability, loss of independence, unemployment, money worries, and so on. Today’s culture tends to prepare us for gain, but not for loss. It equips us for ‘a time to dance’, but not ‘a time to mourn’ (Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV). Major losses throw us into unknown territory, so we need to understand the dynamics of loss in order to help us through it and begin the process of regaining our joy. The most life-changing loss is bereavement – the agony of feeling that something or someone indispensable to us has been ripped away. It can leave us feeling cheated. Then comes grief – painful, raw emotions of overwhelming sorrow that often come with anger, distress, confusion, and helplessness. Next, we move into the mourning stage – where we begin to express our grief and loss. This is the ‘hard work’ stage of tears, memories, and heartrending cries that shake us to our core. We feel guilt and remorse over what we have said or done, or not said and done. Our heartache gives those around us an opportunity to offer the comfort and reassurance we need to begin healing. This is God’s system for healing broken hearts. The Israelites’ beloved leader died at the age of 120, leaving behind him a grief-stricken nation (see Deuteronomy 34). And God gave them thirty days to mourn their loss and to comfort one another before getting back to day-to-day life. So take the time you need to do the work of mourning your losses, because Jesus said, ‘Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted’ (Matthew 5:4 KJV).