When We Long for Things We’ve Lost

Friend, do you wonder what to do when we long for things we’ve lost?

Lately, I came across a term used in the Portuguese folk culture. It is called “saudade”, meaning a deep emotional state of melancholia and longing for a person or thing that is absent. This term is very fitting for my emotional state in the months and years following the unexpected loss of my husband of 15 years.

Every day, multiple triggers unleash this strong longing, magnifying the loss of my closest person and all other connected losses. I would see a photo, walk in the shop and see his favorite drink, or glimpse a pair walking hand in hand, and the pain would stab my stomach like a sharp knife. I would dream in the night about him and would wake up with this strong longing and just one wish: to have my old life back, to have my family and my husband again!

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When We Long for Things We’ve Lost

How can I handle these overwhelming feelings that leave me breathless, depressed, and discouraged, looking for meaning and purpose in my new life after the loss?

Friend, if you have lost something precious in your life, a thing, a relationship, a person you have loved, or your normal life because of the pandemic, then most probably you also long for the presence of what is lost. This longing is an inseparable part of grief. How can we best handle it?

My grief journey propelled me closer to the heart of God, yearning to hear from Him what to do with my “saudade”, and how to express my painful feelings and move forward. God has been faithful to talk to me through His word and to provide a way out. 

My grief journey propelled me closer to the heart of God, yearning to hear from Him what to do with my longing, and how to express my painful feelings and move forward. #grief #longing #bgbg2 Click To Tweet

Several Truths about Our Suffering

He drew my attention first to some basic truths about the suffering and struggle we all experience. Meditating on these truths helped me change my perspective and to trust that my grief and longing are not meaningless, but have a powerful purpose and meaning. Let’s ponder together some of these truths.

#1 Suffering is not something extraordinary; it is rather normal. We should not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on us to test us, as though something strange was happening to us. (1 Peter 4:12)

#2 Suffering is an occasion for joy because we have fellowship in the sufferings of Christ. It is not something to avoid, but a privilege and a way to take part in the glory of Christ. (1 Peter 4:13)

#3 Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19)

#4 We are to cast all our anxiety on Him and turn every concern, worry, and pain into prayer. (1 Peter 5:7)

#5 God will use the suffering to restore us and make us strong, firm, and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)

Suffering is not something to avoid, but a privilege and a way to take part in the glory of Christ. #suffering #encouragement #bgbg2 Click To Tweet

Expressing Our Painful Feelings of Longing

Next, through the story of Job, God showed me how to express my painful feeling of longing and clothe them with words.

First, God tenderly invites us to state our case before Him and wait for His answer. (Job 23:4-5)

He also encourages us to stay confident that He knows the way that we take and after He has tested us, we will come forth like gold. (Job 23:10)

Because God is our eternal Helper, He assures us that the darkness of the crushing pain and longing we experience will not silence our faith. (Job 23:17)

God also invites us to lament by pouring out our longing for what we’ve lost and anguish to Him. Job chapter 29 is a perfect example of such a lament. “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness!” (Job 29:2-3)

God wants it all. He wants our longing, our pain, and our anguish. He gives us words to clothe and express these feelings and He promises meaning, purpose, redemption, and restoration.

Yielding to God’s Presence in Our Longing

So next time when you feel this strong longing and melancholia about things and persons you have lost, remember that your suffering is not in vain and pour it all out to God, our closest friend, and lover of our souls.

He sees and hears us, He feels our pain, He understands. God is there for us. He is there for you.

More Encouragement and Comfort for You

If you need more resources to encourage and comfort you in your painful longing, I can highly recommend these books. Check them out.

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry L. Sittser

A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life by Jerry L. Sittser

Restoration Year – a 365 Days Devotional by John Eldredge

All Things New by John Eldredge

It’s not supposed to Be This Way by Lisa Terkeurst

The Grief Guidebook: Common Questions, Compassionate Answers, Practical Suggestions by Gary Roe

Grieving the Write Way Journal and Workbook by Gary Roe

Suffering and the Heart of God by Diane Langberg

Hope When Life Unravels: Finding God When It Hurts by Adam Dooley

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This page contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. The commission I make from these items will help keep this blog going. Thank you!

Your Turn

Do you long for something or somebody you have lost? How can your express your painful feelings today? Share in the comments and on social media if you have found this post helpful. Thanks!

God invites us to lament by pouring out our longing for what we’ve lost and anguish to Him. #longing #loss #encouragement Click To Tweet

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26 Replies to “When We Long for Things We’ve Lost”

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I am glad that you found the post helpful and would share it with your friend. I hope she will find it helpful too. Blessings!

  1. Hadassah,

    I can feel the weight of your pain in these words and know that you understand suffering. I’m so sorry, friend, for your loss. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as you comfort others in your grief.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging and kind words, and for your prayer support, friend! Blessings to you!

  2. My heart is with you as you continue to grieve the loss of your husband.
    God has so anointed you to minister to those who are grieving. This is beautiful, and no doubt will minister to many. Thank you for being obedient to God.
    My mama, whom I lived with, took care of and loved (still do) tremendously went to be with Jesus in December of 2020. I will miss her until Jesus comes to get me and takes me home too.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words, Susan! I am so sorry for the loss of your mama. I can understand what it means to live with this loss every day. But with God, we can grieve with hope. Blessings to you!

  3. Praying for you today, dear Hadassah.

    I wasn’t familiar with that Portuguese term, so thank you very much for teaching us about this. Loss is a very difficult thing, but as we have been reminded this week, death does not have the final victory. Shalom

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey in walking through grief. It is never easy and thank God for his word that gives us comfort. I enjoyed reading._❤

  5. I’m thankful that He is near us when we walk on the mountain tops and when we walk through the deepest valleys of grief. I pray you continue to find His comfort as you long for and miss your dear husband.

    I’m halfway through a book on grief from the loss of a spouse, it’s called, Death is a Liar: How to Live through Losing a Spouse and Find Comfort in Your Grief, by Daniel B. Lancaster.

  6. Hadassah, Thank you for your beautiful encouragement of when we long for things we’ve lost. You have been through so much and God has given you the ability to teach His grace and love. Thank you!

  7. Hadassah, Thank you for your endearing post for when we long for things we lost. God has given you the grace to see His Hope in all of this. I can apply your teaching to the things I’ve lost and long for. Blessings to you.

    1. Thanks so much, Deborah! I am happy that you found the post helpful and can apply the teaching in your life. Blessings to you!

  8. I am so sorry to learn about the loss of your husband. Even with the passage of time, such profound loss stays with the person no matter what. It’s a great solace to have faith when this happens. Many blessings to you!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Joanna! Yes, the loss stays but I find comfort and strength in my faith. Blessings to you too!

  9. It’s tough not to long for things you’ve lost. Whether it’s a family member or a pet, letting go is tough. They will always be with you.

  10. Thank you for sharing from your heart once again. When we long for things we’ve lost, it is such a comfort to know that God is there. Even in our darkest moments, we can have hope. Thank you for the reminder of this important truth.

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