1. Denial

Psalm 46

Denial is often one of the first emotions experienced in the grieving process. It's very natural to question or reject the reality of our loss. Our world has drastically changed, creating fears and worries. What was normal is no longer the same. This shakes our feelings of comfort and security. We might be tormented by thoughts like, This can't be true. Why is this happening to me? We also might become consumed by work or other activities to avoid facing or talking about our loss. Photographs and memories might be too painful to revisit. These are normal reactions and are part of grieving. As we face our grief, the pain and emptiness will diminish with time.

Group Discussion. Share about your loss and how it is affecting you. What are you finding hardest to accept?

Personal Reflection. Reflect on the value of giving yourself permission to grieve and of then facing your grief. What particular thoughts and images come to mind? Write them down or take them to God in prayer.

Like many of the Psalms, Psalm 46 was once used as part of the Jewish temple worship in Jerusalem. No author claimed it, and it was not linked to a specific event in israel's history, but it stands as a song of worship in praise of God's love, even when in a life-threatening situation. Read Psalm 46.

  1. How does the psalmist picture God?
  2. How can God be our refuge and strength?
    our ever-present help?
  3. In what ways do the feelings you have about your loss relate to the scary or tragic circumstances mentioned by the psalmist?
  4. Complete this sentence: "I will not fear, though . . ."
  5. What does the river represent?
    Why will the "city of God" not fall (vv. 4-5)?
  6. What "streams" do you have to draw on as you face your loss?
  7. What difference does it make that the Lord almighty is with us (vv. 5-7, 11)?
  8. What does the fortress metaphor (vv. 7, 11) tell us about God's role in our grief and loss?
  9. How could obedience to the command "Be still, and know that I am God" (v. 10) provide strength when we're tempted to run from our pain?
  10. What one thing (a thought, feeling or new idea) would you like to take from your experience of this study?
  11. What one thing (a thought, feeling or old idea) would you like to leave behind?

Ask God to strengthen and embolden you to face the painful reality of your loss, trusting him for wholeness and healing.

Now or Later

Give yourself permission to do something nice for yourself—something that would make you feel better. For example, go to an uplifting movie or a ball game, go out to lunch or dinner with a friend, get a massage, return to a hobby, and so on. Afterward, journal or talk to God about what you did. How did it feel while you were doing it? How do you feel now? What about the activity you chose brought comfort? What about it was hard?