Grieving with Hope

The last eight days have been a perfect storm for my family. Not only have we lost the instrument through which God was providing for us, I lost a precious friend on Tuesday. Her daughter is one of my best friends, and I have known the family for almost thirty-one years. I mention that because I don’t have a lot of those kind of friendships which have stood the test of time since I moved around a lot as a child. So, losing even one of those friends is painful.

Since I found out on Tuesday, I’ve spent a lot of time by myself trying to process this punch to the gut I was feeling. Losing this precious lady hurts a lot. She was like a second mother to me. But as I thought and wrote and did all the things I usually do to process something painful, I realized I had embers of hope stirring in my heart. Words that said this lady was okay now and that we would all be okay too. What words were those? She was a Christian like me so she is now with Jesus and celebrating having a whole and healed body. Would I really want to take her away from Jesus? Of course not. I am looking forward to seeing Jesus one day myself.

But, the pain, the pain of grief can be overwhelming. In addition to this lady, several friends of mine here have also lost loved ones this week. There is a loss involved with someone going to Jesus. The people they were closest to will no longer have them in their lives. They will no longer be able to call them or spend time with them. Their absence will be noticed at holidays. A void will be present that was not present before, and this void is painful.

I don’t think we, as Christians, know what to do with grief. In general, I don’t think people know what to do with grief. They think the person that is grieving should take the proscribed amount of time off from work and then not talk about it anymore. We are uncomfortable with people who show the emotions of grieving, and most of us don’t know what to do to help them. Yes, we have hope in Christ, but there is also pain, a dichotomy to be sure.

God knew we would have pain though, and there in an example in Scripture showing us that Jesus experienced pain in loss too. It was when He lost His friend Lazarus. The story is told in John 11 with verses 32 – 35 showing His sorrow.

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.”

They ended up taking Jesus to the grave where he called for Lazarus to come out of the tomb which would seem to negate His pain. That’s not the point though. I think God was wanting to make sure we knew that He understood our pain because He had experienced it Himself.

We will have pain in this life, but those of us who believe in Him have hope too. A tether to hold onto, I think. A rope to bring us out of the deepest recesses of the pit. And we have someone too, who stays with us until we’re ready to take a hold of that rope. Jesus understands our grief, in a way no one else can, and that is why I can grieve with hope.

God’s blessings on all of you today!

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