August 17, 2016
Having Faith Doesn’t Mean that Grief Will Hurt Less
For the past few weeks I've been thinking and writing about the relationship between faith and grief. Grief is like no other emotion I've ever observed or experienced. Think about jealously: The impact of feeling envious is usually short-lived. Think about fear: The things that cause us to be afraid are usually temporary. Grief is altogether different. Grief is felt more deeply and the feelings last longer. I think the loss of a loved one is a grief you don't ever get over. You just find ways to carry on living as you continue to adjust to the presence of grief.
As Christians we know that we aren't controlled by grief, although sometimes it may feel like we are. We know that as people of faith we look to God, especially in times of deep soul grief. I love the simplicity of this verse:
… for we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
We walk by faith. We look to God and walk in the hope that He alone can bring. Walking by faith is the reality for every believer, every moment of every day. But I have observed that grief makes that walking harder. Grief can make it hard to trust God. The person who is experiencing deep soul grief wonders if they will ever feel normal again. Grief is such a deep emotion that it can feel overpowering, all-consuming.
I have experienced the loss of loved ones, and I have walked the path in the valley of the shadow of death with many people over the years. The emotion of grief is unique in that not only is grief deeper than any other emotion, it is also much harder to predict. When a person first loses a loved one, grief is a constant companion. Over time the Lord allows adjustment to begin. Later, grief comes in what seems to be random ways and at random times. The grieving person hears a song, smells something, sees someone, and grief feels so deep and fresh that the person feels as they did when just starting on their journey. I wish I had a magic cure for grief, but God alone is the One who can bring a measure of peace and hope.
Here is another principle I have noticed as I've walked this path with others. The amount of faith you have doesn't equate with the amount of grief you feel. Strong faith doesn't mean that grief will hurt less. We need to remember that we are frail human beings who are dependent on God. It's only in our weakness that His strength is revealed and made perfect.
Trust says, “I need to live with grief and seek after God.” That's why this amazing verse is so important for us to grasp in times of grief:
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
There is always hope in Jesus. Be patient. God is always working. Stay in the posture of prayer. Stay connected to the One who can move mountains and who promises peace.
Let me close with these truths:
· Cancer is powerful but Jesus is greater.
· Cancer takes the body but Jesus saves the soul.
· Even in grief we have hope and strength.
· Faith doesn't mean that grief will hurt less, but faith does lead to hope.
May God carry you today if your heart is burdened and heavy-laden.