Get Over It?

By Pastor E

This is what grief is. A hole ripped through the very fabric of your being. The hole eventually heals along the jagged edges that remain. It may even shrink in size. But that hole will always be there. A piece of you is always missing. For where there is deep grief, there was great love. Don’t be ashamed of your grief. Don’t judge it. Don’t suppress it. Don’t rush it. Rather, acknowledge it. Lean into it. Listen to it. Feel it. Sit with it. Sit with the pain. And remember the love.

As I sat at a table diagonal from a couple of women sharing coffee and conversation, I heard one of the ladies say something that I couldn’t shake. In a very firm voice she told one of the ladies at the table, “It’s been a year, sweetie, you need to let him go and move on.” In that instant the lady’s eyes filled with tears and she began to sob. Her friend continued, “He would want you to move on, you know. You can’t let this consume you.” Then the lady giving “advice” said something that really got me hot under the collar, she quoted 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “You know as Christians we do not grieve without hope.” 

Now, I have heard scripture used out of context many times and in the wrong way, but this one really upset me. What a terrible way to use that text and what an even more inappropriate time. Yes, as Christians we do have a hope, even in the midst of our hardest times, which is grounded in Christ but WE ARE STILL GIVEN ROOM AND GRACE TO GRIEVE!  

“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy… Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:20,22

Brothers and sisters, I am here to tell you, there is no timeline on grieving, there is no “getting over it,” there is no “just move on,” and there is definitely no 7-step program to work through it. Everyone grieves differently, in their own way, and in their own time. We don’t need to quote scripture to them, reminding them of the hope they have in Christ, like they had forgotten all of that overnight. Instead we need to enter into the grief and pain our brothers and sisters find themselves in. We are called to show empathy, compassion, patience, lots of grace, and most of all to ”shut up” and be good listeners. It can be very easy to give advice standing on the safety of the shore during the storm they are enduring. Instead, it is our call as brothers and sisters to enter the storm with them….to help them carry that cross they bear. Sometimes our well-intended advice can produce unintended consequences and extra guilt and pain. Don’t discount their grief–speak love, show love, and know that this might take some time…..a time only God knows. 

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

As we move closer to good Friday, we remember that our Lord and Savior entered into our storms. He entered into the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Jesus walked out into the storm of the lake to meet the disciples. Jesus entered into the pain of the Samaritan woman, the blind, the man with leprosy, the death of Lazarus, and even the bleeding woman. Most importantly, Jesus carried our crosses, entering into the pain and grieving of the world, offering himself up as the sacrifice for each of us. And today, around the world, we still shed tears, remember, and grieve the eternity-changing events of Jesus’ death on the cross.  

Yes, brothers and sisters, we grieve like those who have hope in our resurrected Jesus, but there is still room for the grief, the pain, and the remembering of those we grieve for. We are called to have hope but the pain and grief are real. Jesus will meet us in that and we should be willing to do so also.    

“He (Jesus) will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

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