Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Lord Help Me, I'm Grieving"

At one end of today, I was sitting in church, jotting down sermon notes from my pastor on a series about grief, and thinking today was gonna be another peaceful Sunday. At another end, I read and saw a terrible story where two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 Indy Car champion Dan Wheldon died from "unsurvivable injuries" he sustained in a fiery fifteen car wreck eleven laps into the final race of the season in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wheldon was just 33 years old. It's all the more tragic considering that Wheldon, a British-born native of St. Petersburg, Florida, is survived by his wife and his two sons, ages two years old and seven months old.

Wow. You don't have to be a racing fan at all to feel remorse for those immediately involved in this tragedy. Well, you gotta at least be human. And have a soul.

At any rate, the death of Dan Wheldon is a reminder of two things just about all of us take for granted: professional race car drivers, especially those in open-wheel racing, risk their lives at every event, and death is imminent.

Now, speaking from someone who grew up on NASCAR but has since become a casual fan, hearing about this news has real shock value. Yes, you'd think at the speeds Indy Car drivers go (in excess of 200+ MPH) and the tight spaces they run in that there would be more fatalities. Alas, this is only the fourth instance since 1996 of an Indy Car driver who was killed on the race track, and the first since Paul Dana was killed in a practice run in 2006.

But out in the real world, people die every day. Not only that, but approximately 115 people per day die in vehicular crashes. So what makes Dan Wheldon any different?

Well, without writing a novella about it, his death will forever remain a popular example of how little precious time one truly has on Earth. From this day forward, Daniel Clive Wheldon born June 22, 1978 is no more.

And that leads to a convenient segue back to the morning service I just attended today. I didn't necessarily tune out my pastor and mindlessly filled in the blanks (you'll see what I mean), but I did ask myself about it's relevance for me at the present moment. I'm not in grief. At the worst, I'm growing concerned over my father's health, but he's still in good spirits. Additionally, no one I know, whether personally or mutually, had experienced bereavement in recent memory. That's not to say I'm a self-centered jerk, but it is human nature to ask, "Why?", when something's not applicable right away.

So instead of tonight being a night where I can take it easy before I start another hectic week of school tomorrow, I've instead taken it upon myself to make sure the sermon I heard this morning doesn't fall on deaf ears. And considering that we all go through grief at some point in life, directly and indirectly, I figure that uploading this timeless information on biblically dealing with grief will help someone out there, whether it's you or someone you know.

This particular sermon is called "Lord Help Me, I'm Grieving", hence the title of this post, and a PDF version of the following sermon notes can be found here.

"Genesis 50:1-10
'Lord Help Me, I'm Grieving'

*Let yourself feel the loss.
Genesis 50:1

*Take time to grieve.
Genesis 50:10

*Let Jesus comfort you.
Isaiah 61:1-3

*Remember your hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13

*Share your comfort with others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

*Actively participate in life again.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58

*Focus on what you cannot lose.
Romans 8:38-39

*Stages of Grief
1. Shock
2. Denial
3. Anger
4. Depression
5. Submission
6. Reinvestment

*God comforts us not to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.

*Other related verses: Psalm 46:1; Psalm 121:1-2; Isaiah 53:3; John 11:25"

May God bless the family of Dan Wheldon, and all who are dealing with grief as I write this line.

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