Grief. I’m not sure it’s something that any of us know how to process. Not really. Even when it’s expected, it tends to manage to feel unexpected.
Somehow, grief is often entwined with the traumatic. It causes us distress emotionally, psychologically, sometimes physically. Sometimes the grief reminds us of previous traumatic events and other times, the cause of the grief is traumatic in itself.
I’ve been thinking about grief a lot of late. Have you ever thought about the grief of the disciples after the crucifixion? Christ’s death could easily be considered a traumatic source of grief for them. The disciples mourned over Christ’s death. At least, they certainly seemed to. Tonight, as I sit with the grief of losing a friend, remembering the grief of other friends, with the grief of things that have happened recently in my life and those of others close to me, I think of the disciples. I think of them holed up behind tightly closed doors, in fear of the Jews, grieving over the death of their Messiah – and what did Jesus do? He showed Himself.
Mary in the garden weeping… He showed her Himself. The two on the road to Emmaus… He showed them Himself. The disciples, huddled behind closed doors… He showed them Himself.
He didn’t scold or criticize, He redirected their gaze in different ways, according to His plan. What I need is my gaze redirected to my LORD. He can and will do so for me – and I can ask Him to do so.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…”
There is a time for tears. Ecclesiastes 3 makes that clear, when it says there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Just because our gaze is redirected to Christ, does not mean that sadness and tears will disappear. Jesus Himself cried at Lazarus’ death. But then, what did He do? He showed everyone there the power of God. He showed Himself; God in the flesh. He brought attention to the Father.
It’s true that Jesus rose from the dead. Lazarus walked out of the tomb. Yet, I don’t think that takes away from the overall picture. The picture of our gaze being redirected to Christ. The answer to our grief isn’t always the eradication of the reason behind our tears. Sometimes, the LORD grants healing, restoration, or transformation as His means of redirecting our gaze to Him. Sometimes, that is not in His plan or His will. Sometimes, the fire stays hot, our hearts continue to break, and it seems the tears will never stop – and that is what He will use to show us Himself. Because, even in mourning, we grieve not as those who have no hope. We have hope – we have Christ – and I pray that He shows us Himself, even in grief and mourning. Even through sorrow and tears. Perhaps more so then, than at any other time.
I trust that He can and will complete the work He has begun in His children, whether it would be through healing and transformation or through fire and tears; I pray and trust that He will show us Himself and use all for His glory.
To the KING be all the glory!