Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

There is Hope in Grief

Our American culture is uncomfortable with grief.  We often rush people through the grieving process.  Most employers only allow two or three days off work after the death of a spouse or a child.  We feel uncomfortable around those who openly share their emotions, and so we ignore their cries for help or change the subject when it gets brought up.  Even as Christians we sometimes struggle dealing with grief.  Some will even point to Paul’s desire in 1 Thess. 4:13 that we “do not grieve as others do who have no hope” as Biblical precedent for not grieving for those who have died.  The problem with this interpretation is there is more Biblical precedent to grieve than not to grieve.  Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the grave (John 11).  The Egyptians wept seventy days after the death of Jacob, and his family wept even longer (Gen. 50).

When we grieve over death, sickness, disease, etc. we are grieving over things that are the result of this fallen world in which we live.  We should never feel comfortable or satisfied with these things.  Our grieving is natural.  It lets us know that something is amiss and we are not ok with living in a fallen world.  We should not seek to restrict the grieving process.  Most of us are more emotional the first few days and weeks following a crisis, but just because we learn to contain our emotions does not mean we stop grieving.  Years after a crisis occurs our grief can be triggered by any number of things.  We are constantly reminded that we live in a fallen world.

If Paul is not putting limits on grief in 1 Thess. 4:13, then what is he doing?  I believe he is informing us that our grief is different than the grief of unbelievers.  It is ok to grieve and to continue to grieve, but Paul wants us to know there is hope in our grief.  We naturally grieve because there is something amiss in the world.  Unbelievers have this innate feeling inside of them also, but Christians are the only ones who know and understand that God is going to do something about the falleness of this world.  Jesus has promised to return and make everything right.  There is hope in our grief.  This will not stop our tears or keep us from grieving, but it does make our grieving different.  We serve a God who is just as uncomfortable as we are about the falleness of the world and He has promised to do something about it.

 

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