When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Where have you laid him? he asked. Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.
JOHN 11: 33-35
We sometimes act as if you can’t have grief and faith at the same time. Sometimes, shutting down grief seems spiritual. We tell ourselves and others, Forget the past and press on. God’s got a plan. God is sovereign. We use Bible verses.
But banning grief is not biblical, and it’s not spiritual.
Maybe we feel that grieving a loss of something or someone shows that we don’t have all our treasures in heaven. Perhaps we delude ourselves with the twisted notion that if we had all of our treasures in heaven, our treasures would be safe, and we’d never experience loss. And although this is crazy talk, we speak it to ourselves and others.
Does grieving really signal a lack of faith? Would the truly faithful person simply know the goodness of God and cast themselves on that goodness? No one would say it, but we sometimes treat the sovereignty of God as an excuse to outlaw grief. I mean, how could we question the plan of God by crying?
Remember, grieving isn’t equal to sinning.
So please, allow grief in your own heart and in the hearts of your family members. If you’re uncomfortable with other peoples’ grief (or your own), you might want to look deep, deep down in your own soul and see if there’s some long-outlawed, long-buried grief. If you find some, begin gently to see it, vent it, feel it. Begin talking about it, slowly, with a good listener.
And if you come across someone who’s grieving a loss, please remember that they probably don’t need a lecture, or a Bible verse, or a pithy saying. But they could maybe use a hug.