Grief is Never Easy

Grief strikes when you least expect it, sometimes over the things you least expect. Everyone loses something or someone at some point. No one is spared.  Grief is never easy. 

At times grief strikes like a hammer and attempts to crush the soul.  Other times it gently passes through the mind not intending to destroy.  Grief wears no timepiece and is ambivalent towards how long it will reside or to the degree of intensity.  Its arrival cannot be controlled and is seemingly wild and untamed in nature when allowed to roam.  If denied appropriate freedom and stifled instead, the duration of grief is extended leading to a steady decline.

So then, what is grief?  According to the dictionary, grief is a “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.”  Despite its bleak description, grief indeed has a place and purpose in our lives. 

Grief has a shape.  Grief has a purpose.  Grief has an advocate.

The shape of grief may be seen in several different forms such as tears or weeping, illness or affliction from the strain, and physical changes to the body.   Jesus suffered such grief after receiving the news that his friend, Lazarus, had died.  His grief took the form of tears as seen in John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” (NASB) The Savior was not merely crying but weeping, a sure sign of sharp sorrow.

At times, grief may be confusing.  The idea of entertaining such raw emotions seems contrary to our culture and society.   Phrases such as “buck up and get over it” or “rub some dirt in it” and “move on,” can be common responses from others who cannot or refuse to empathize. 

I believe the purpose of grief is to reveal the treasure of releasing what has been lost.  But what does that look like? After grieving the loss of my parents I embraced this great loss and grieved, and in turn the Lord brought me to unexpected place of genuine joy. This paradox of losing in order to gain came as a result of watching my mother battle breast cancer and the storing up of precious jewels that I will be admiring for years to come.  In her treasure chest, now passed down to me, are jewels of faith, hope, love, courage, thankfulness, and even joy all displayed in her example.    However, until I fully released my loss into the Master’s hand, I could not begin to truly embrace or put to use the jewels she left behind.  In Psalms chapter 30, verse 5 states, “For His anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (NIV) My belief is that the release of loss sometimes can only make its way through “mourning” where the distress of grief delivers pure unadulterated joy.  Dad would always tell me, “Tomorrow is a new day!”  He was right!  The morning will always come and the mourning will eventually go.

In the garden of Gethsemane, tears were present as Jesus cried out to God to allow the cup to pass from Him.  One can only imagine the extreme grief our Lord was experiencing at that moment as His sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).  These results physically demonstrate deep anguish and mental suffering.  Previously, verse 42 reminds us that even in grief, we have an advocate as Jesus cries out, “saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  As Christ wrestled with His own grief of what was to come, His unconditional love for us was the jewel that outshined that grief. 

The treasure chest is full of jewels of all different shapes and sizes.  For Lazarus, the other side of grief was filled with life and hope!  This miracle inspired great belief in those who witnessed his exit from the tomb.  On the other side of the mourning is indeed great joy in experiencing what has been lost, even if only for a short time, and how that thing, or person, changes us forever. 

Life is richer for me because of my parents and their great faith continues to inspire and encourage me.  The Garden of Gethsemane gives us the gems of perseverance and unconditional love as Jesus released himself and His own will into the Father’s hands amid crushing grief. 

In God’s economy, nothing is ever really lost.  Although it may seem your grief will never end and has no design, you are not alone.  He exists to give shape and purpose to your life, and He goes before you as your advocate.   Greif is only a tool in the Master’s hand to mold and shape His vessels. 

Where are you grieving today?  How is your grief shaping you? What jewel will you allow the Lord to extract from the treasure chest just for you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: