May 7, 2014 - Serious Struggles

Grief is part of life.

Grief enlarged

That being said, from firsthand experience I have learned many Christians believe grief is sinful. The reasons are interesting.

One theory is that if we trust God in all things, grief should never enter our minds.

This implies that, since God knows what is best, we can accept that and not be concerned with what happens. We know that a child with cancer is under God’s care. We realize that the loved one who just died is in Heaven now. So what’s there to grieve about?

The image is one of blithely walking around with a grin and not really caring about anything.

Another theory is that we are supposed to be thankful for everything, even those experiences that are the most painful. This involves not asking for anything, just praising God no matter what.

Although there is some truth there, it is not how God designed us. We are to be feeling and concerned individuals with emotions and the ability to love. But we will never love if we can never grieve.

A.W. Tozer said,

“It is doubtful that God can use a man greatly, unless He has hurt him deeply.”

It is difficult to be hurt deeply without being grieved. In fact, if we don’t grieve over our own sin, we don’t understand the sovereignty of God and what He did for us by sending His Son to die on the cross to pay for those sins.

Jesus, even though He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, wept. He grieved for his friend, although He was about to bring him back to life.

Grief can take on inappropriate proportions if we allow it. A good form of grief leads us to God. A bad form draws us away from Him. Grief may turn to pity, anger, and even rebellion against God. It’s easy to spot when it’s the wrong kind of grief.

But the sting of death is different. For Christians, that death is buffered, not softened, by the knowledge that our loved ones are with Christ in Heaven. That is why we don’t fall into despair when we lose our wives or husbands or children.

Instead, we have the assurance that they are in a better place, and we will see them again one day. That’s why the sting of death is no longer devastating.

Grief is a part of the process we go through when we lose someone we love. It’s normal, it’s Godly, it’s okay.