This spring has been a time of turmoil in many of the lives around me. Unexpected deaths, violence at schools, job losses, rebellious kids, identity issues. As we meet from week to week and month to month, I hear stories of failure, fear and despair. Some of these stories touch my life directly.
Our culture is geared toward a pain free, happy go lucky mentality that scorns negative feelings and avoids the depths of real pain. The church has often followed this lead by being all about celebration, hype, joy and fellowship. But what about those believers suffering deep loss, buried by the massive weight of grief? Where is the time in our worship to embrace that?
I am not suggesting that we choose to get stuck in grief, but sometimes we have a hard time finding our way out. Theology does not deliver us from sorrow. In fact, scripture says that Jesus was a “man of sorrows”. We need to celebrate when we can, but there is a real place for grief when there is real loss. Instead of ignoring it, medicating it away or trying to ignore it, we should engage grief.
Grief reminds us that something is wrong. Whether it is a loss, a persecution, or a pain, we are reminded that not all is as it should be. Grief is our response. So if the suffering is great, so is the grieving. Embracing it means recognizing the brokeness of this world, and therefore reminds us of our need for a savior and our hope for eternity. When we lose someone we love, it hurts. But it hurts because of the love, our pain reminding us of the blessing of that love.
Our pain, our sorrow, our grief can all lead us to remember the grace of God, the hope of eternity and the love of the Savior. And in this, even through tears, we can know the peace of God in the midst of our pain.