August 24, 2016
Grief is Too Big for Human Shoulders
In this Spot of Grace I would like to consider once more the relationship and the tension that I sense between faith and grief. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve talked with you about how we know that God exists and that He always has a plan. We know that God is good and that He doesn’t waste any pain we suffer. But humanly speaking, grief still hurts and even those who are blessed with a strong and obvious faith still suffer grief and pain.
Today I would like to share with you the conclusion I’ve come to after walking for the last few weeks with the Lord and with people who are grieving: Grief is too big for human shoulders. As I said last week, grief is unlike any other emotion I’ve ever experienced or seen. Fresh grief is constant. There may be times when other thoughts fill your mind but then suddenly, deep feelings of grief return. As I have tried to help those in our church who are grieving, I see the weight of their suffering. I wish I had a magic cure. I wish I could just say some really great words of wisdom and the grief would instantly disappear. I believe God has reasons that grief doesn't work like that and I would like to share with you one of those reasons.
It seems most conversations I have had lately involve the grief that one particular family in our church is experiencing. I see people in our church that grieve along with this family – those who want to help to carry the burden. I think, in part, this is because our church sees the depth of grief that results from losing a child. After having similar deep conversations with several people one day last week, I was reminded of the weight of grief that so many feel. So I did what I often do when I’ve had a challenging meeting or I am burdened … I take a walk in the hallways at Grace. This gives me a chance to think and to pray. As I was praying about the grief that is so deep and felt by so many, I thought about how the family that gave their daughter to Jesus must be grieving. As I prayed and walked, I sensed the Lord very gently reminding me of this verse - “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) I was reminded that the burden is the Lord’s. My response of faith is not to try harder to carry that burden, but instead, it is to cast my cares on Him. Jesus promises us rest as we give our burdens to Him. I think that those who are grieving should regularly go to God with their grief and ask Him to help carry the load.
The Christian life isn't one of trying harder, it's living with Christ in us. It’s giving our unbearable burdens over to Christ. It’s accepting the peace that Christ brings – not because our grief has disappeared, but because we walk grief’s path with King Jesus. If grief is too big a burden for human shoulders, let’s turn to the one who can carry that load for you, for me, and for all who are grieving.
As I close, I am reminded of the empathy the Lord has for us. Jesus knows what it’s like both to experience grief and to see deep soul grief in others. The Bible says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) This verse tells me that Jesus knows what it’s like to grieve. Jesus knows our suffering. When we go to Him, we go to the One who knows and has experienced pain
May God’s peace fill and carry you.