The hows and whys
1 Thessalonians 4:13 tells us not to grieve like those of who have no hope, but what does that really mean for those of us who have lost loved ones, people we care so deeply and passionately about that losing them hurts, hurts with a real physical pain, in addition to the emotional loss?
This is something I have been wrestling with over the last number of weeks. For Keith and I, having lost two very close members of our family, Keith's dad and my brother, this has been a real, heart wrenching issue. Yes, both of them loved the Lord dearly and we have no doubts where they are now, and yes, we don't grieve in a way of thinking they will be suffering eternally. Yes, we have every confidence they have commenced the rest of eternity with our loving heavenly Daddy and we praise God for that.
I hear people saying 'now don't be sad, you know they are in a better place.' Yes, I know that, and I also know that these sentiments are well meant and no-one is meaning to cause hurt. But, you know, God made us emotional beings. He is a loving God. He is a God with feelings and emotions. Right from Genesis 1, we see that God saw his creation was good, He was pleased. We also see that God was deeply saddened by the things we as His creation have done. This goes right through to the New Testament, when Jesus learned of His friend Lazarus' death, He wept. Jn 11:35. For me, this has been one of the most comforting verses of the Bible throughout my life. I think as a woman in today's society, we sometimes feel that we need to surpress our emotions, especially when we are working in the real world. There is an expectation that we have to be tough, that we have to hold back our feelings and appear strong at all times. Wow, this is so wrong! I don't believe for one moment that we should go around wearing our hearts on our sleeves and crying at every small thing that comes along, but, we have been given emotions and I don't believe God gives us emotions for no reason. He knows we need a release. So why should we fight against this?
So, coming back to grief. Is it wrong to feel sad? Is it wrong to miss people so desperately? Well, if Jesus cried and He is our example, then I see no reason why we shouldn't. However, that doesn't mean we should be wallowing in our grief and sadness. Jesus wept, yet as God's Son, He knew the outcome. He knew Lazarus would be resurrected. We are God's children also, and if we know our loved ones are also God's children, we too know the outcome. We know they will be resurrected - maybe not in this world, but certainly in the Spiritual. Nevertheless, that does not remove the pain of the loss completely. We have been born with emotions and feelings. We miss our loved ones dearly. Over 20 years later, I still miss my dad. The pain isn't as severe as it was in the beginning, but every now and again, something happens, something I think 'Dad would love to hear that or see that', and then realise he's not here.
However, in all these things, I acknowledge that He (God) has turned our sorrow (mourning) into dancing (Psalm 30: 11)
These are only my initial thoughts in a time of sadness. I may change my mind and if I do, I shall add to this blog. Comments are welcome. I'd love to hear your thoughts.