Vantage Point: Coping with Loss
Brother Felmar Serreno: There are many questions that can bother a person when we lose a loved one. “Why did he have to die now?” “Will I ever get over this pain?” “She was so young, this can’t be fair.” Coping with loss is the topic of our discussion for today, please join us.
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[On-screen text graphic] Despite so many changes Let’s move forward together This is [On-screen logo graphic]
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MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL
Bro. Felmar Serreno
Brother Felmar Serreno: Hi everyone, welcome to Vantage Point. Before we begin the show, we want to express our sincere condolences to anyone who may be grieving at this time, and we pray that this show can be of help to those who are coping with loss.
Natalie, have you ever experienced a death in the family that you’d be willing to talk about?
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Natalie Fitzpatrick: Yes, I’ve lost relatives that were close, more so to my parents, specifically on my mom ’s side. My uncle actually contracted COVID-19 in January of 2021, and this was while he was living in California. So, within the week of him contracting COVID, he actually ended up in the ICU shortly after, and then later on passing away. But the last death within my family that I remember more vividly, personally, would be of my great grandmother.
I was only 4 or 5 years old so I have really, really sweet memories of her being this older lady that always spoiled me whenever we would visit. [On-screen logo graphic]
Vantage Point [On-screen text graphic] Topic Coping With Loss Natalie Fitzpatrick: But I still carry her memory with me everyday, and thinking of my friends who have had family or parents or siblings that have passed away unexpectedly or devastatingly, it’s the emotional repercussions that really stick with me, because I often think about, you know, “What if that was my family?” “What if down the road, that’s my mom or my dad, or my brother?” And it’s that, that really sticks with me, and makes me think about what the future holds.
Brother Felmar Serreno: JR, how about yourself?
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JR Dongalen: During the pandemic as well, just like sister Nat, I had actually lost my aunt in the Philippines due to complications with COVID-19, and other underlying health conditions… I wasn’t really that close with her, but seeing my mom, and obviously their side of the family go through that devastation of finding out what happened. [On-screen logo graphic]
Vantage Point [On-screen text graphic] Topic Coping With Loss JR Dongalen: I’ve lost my grandparents in sudden moments, my grandmother on my mom’s side passed away when we were on vacation back in 2008, and my grandfather on my dad’s side passed suddenly years ago.
I’ve also had close friends pass, people that I’ve spent amazing memories and moments with, and those were just as hard. A friend of mine, we actually graduated highschool together, we were close friends from beginning all the way to the end of highschool, and when I found out later that he passed, that was very difficult.
Brother Felmar Serreno: People say there are generally 5 stages of grieving. We have denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In your opinion JR, which is the hardest stage?
[On-screen text graphic] Denial Anger Bargaining
Brother JR Dongalen: Probably acceptance, that’s the toughest part for me. Trying to come to terms with the situation and actually believing that this person is no longer around. In some ways, I’m in a constant internal battle between denial and acceptance, just going back and forth in this cycle. Even in the most heartbreaking situations in my life, I sometimes say to myself, “No way, this didn’t happen!”
Natalie Fitzpatrick: I’d say that like JR, acceptance is probably the most difficult for me too. I feel like denial naturally comes with that resistance to accept, because, like you said, it’s so hard to believe that somebody could suddenly be gone.
Brother Felmar Serreno: Now, while opinions may vary on which stage in the grieving process is hardest, there’s no denying that death can come to any one of us at any given moment. But maybe there are those who are wondering, “Well, why is there death in the first place?”
Brother Felmar Serreno: Let’s listen to what the Bible says here in the book of Hebrews, chapter 9, and the verse is 27:
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this, the judgment,
[Hebrews 9:27 New King James Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So why is there death? Because the LORD God made it so. Well, why did God appoint death to man?
Brother Felmar Serreno: This is revealed in Romans, chapter 5, and the verse is 12:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
[Romans 5:12 , New King James Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So death, or the cessation of our breath is the consequence, or one of the consequences of sin. And as members of the Church Of Christ, we learned in our Bible studies on doctrines, that actually the full payment of sin will be meted out on Judgment Day.
Now, if any of our viewers would like to learn more about that specific topic, Judgment Day, we invite you to view another one of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (Church Of Christ) programs called INC International Edition. On a specific episode they discuss that topic.
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Coping With Loss
Brother Felmar Serreno: As for us today, the focus of our discussion is “Coping With Loss”, and what is it that we’ve learned so far based on the Bible? That death, as harsh as it may be, is a reality that we cannot avoid; it’s just a matter of time.
Natalie Fitzpatrick: Okay, but, what if someone was to challenge that?because of losing somebody that they love, they feel that God got the timing wrong,
Brother Felmar Serreno: Then, let’s ask the Bible this, Natalie. Are we in a position to question the decisions of our Maker?
Brother Felmar Serreno: The Bible answers here in the book of Isaiah, chapter 45, the verse is 9:
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?
[Isaiah 45:9, New International Version]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So, based on the Holy Scriptures, no man or woman is in a position to question the decisions of our Maker, Who is the One True God, the Father Who is in heaven.
Why don’t we try looking at it this way: isn’t it that in our respective country, or state or province or town there are government officials. And for the sake of law and order, isn’t it that decisions are made; regulations are implemented by said officials. From traffic regulations, to public school policies, to laws regarding owning property, or starting up a business. And we do know how to respect those decisions that are made. Well then, all the more we should yield and surrender to the decisions that are made by our Maker: the Almighty God, the One Who created every one of us, as well as everything that is in heaven and on earth.
JR Dongalen: So, instead of questioning God’s decisions when it comes to life and death Brother Felmar, what should we do? [On-screen text graphic] Topic
Coping With Loss
Brother Felmar Serreno: I’m glad you asked that question, JR. And, this now is the last Bible verse that we’ll be reading for today. But, before we do, we hope that those who are grieving, would listen well. And we pray that this message would give us hope. It’s found here in the book of Lamentations, chapter 3, verses 28 to 33, and verses 25 to 26:
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way
[Lamentations 3:28-33 The Message]
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
[Lamentations 3:25-26 The Message]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So when dealing with the loss of a loved one, which feels like, what the Bible said, “is heavy and hard to take”, what should we do? Get angry with God? Complain against Him? No. Instead, the Bible teaches us, “It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.” So God is the One Who can help us to get through the sorrow.
[On-screen text graphic] God is the One Who can help us to get through sorrow
Brother Felmar Serreno: How can servants of God approach Him for help? The Bible stated, “go off by yourself, enter the silence, bow in prayer.” In other words, we ought to calm down, clear our mind, gather our thoughts, so that we can pray properly to our Almighty God. And if we as members of the Church Of Christ do this sincerely, what can we expect? The Bible promises us, “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.”
[On-screen text graphic] God proves to be good
to the man who passionately waits
to the woman who diligently seeks
Natalie Fitzpatrick: You know, Brother Felmar, hearing that, it reminds me of how important it is to have daily devotional prayers. Just to have that moment of silence, and to really calm down, like you said earlier. That it’s important to have that moment with God to be able to lay it all out when everything is heavy and hard to take.
Brother Felmar Serreno: And further to what you just mentioned, Natalie, many members of the Church Of Christ even make the extra effort to go to the chapel, or the house of worship to say their prayer there. Even when it isn’t a day of worship service. And this is open to all members of the Church Of Christ. At any time, we can coordinate with the respective minister so that they can open the house of worship for us, and we can also have a personal prayer there—to seek God’s comfort and peace, so that we can get through the trials we may be dealing with, like losing a loved one.
Brother Felmar Serreno: And this brings us to the end of our show for today, we thank everyone who joined us, and again thank you to Natalie and JR. We’ll see everyone next time!
JR Dongalen: Give us a thumbs up below if you related to today’s episode on coping with loss. Follow us on instagram at @vantagepoint.inc for more content, and before you go, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button in the corner for future episodes.
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