Grief is difficult. It triggers a set of complex emotions that seem to be more than we can handle, and the pain following loss often leaves us with more questions than answers. Each person handles grief in their own unique way. But what can we learn about grief from Jesus? Why would the Son of God grieve when he knew how everything would end?
Weekly Challenge: This week, find a time to meet with at least two others in your group. Let the three questions on your challenge worksheet serve as a starting point for discussion about what you’ve loved and lost. Before your meeting, write your answers to the three questions below. Let your responses serve as a starting point for your discussion.
Suffering is accompanied by unanswerable questions. During the California Gold Rush, people from all over left their homes to seek out riches newly discovered in the hills of the west. Most left more destitute than when they arrived. The miners, whether they admitted it or not, were in a constant search for something that would never come. Like the miners, we can search and search for answers that will never come.
When it comes to grief, the question is not “Why?” but “Who?” This is where freedom comes from. When we grieve, we are protesting and raging against the injustice of loss. But why do we protest death? Who Where do we get the idea that death is a premature ending? The Bible says God has planted eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3:11) and grief is evidence of this.
Grief is also a way of allowing us to hold onto the person we’ve lost. To grieve and let go forces us to acknowledge and accept that they are gone. Unresolved grief is tied to anger. It is explosive and will come out in some way. That locker of grief will be opened or it will spill out in ways like rage or addiction. This reaction shows that at some level, we know that it was never supposed to be this way. We have to lay out our grief as a sacrifice, give it to God. He is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.
In the book of John, chapter 11, we see Jesus, God incarnate, suffer grief. This is our blueprint for how to grieve. God can love you and let you suffer. Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was not about his love for Lazarus, or for Mary and Martha. It was for a greater purpose. By raising Lazarus in front of so many Jews, Jesus began the process for his own crucifixion, which would provide a means for all men to be saved.
We all want a deeper level but not a deeper situation. When Jesus wept, he displayed pain and anger at death, which is the result of sin. It is unfair. It is unjust. It was never supposed to be this way. When we suffer the loss of someone, we are sometimes trapped in unrelenting pain and anger, but is that what they would want for us? If you were willing to die for them in combat, are you willing to live for them now? Choose to honor them by living a life of purpose and freedom.