It’s the question I hear all too often, since my wife Deb, passed away. People ask, “How are you?” I’m tempted to answer, “How do you think I am?” The answer to both questions is, “I’m terrible, because I’m grieving”. Without a doubt, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Sometimes the Christian community is afraid to acknowledge personal pain. Somewhere the message was given that Christians don’t suffer. They keep on trusting God. As if trusting God cancels out suffering. Take it from me, it doesn’t! Grieving is hard work. Every morning, grief waits for me at the foot of my bed. It embraces me as soon as I wake up. It hangs all over me, throughout the day. Weighing me down. Holding me back. Sometimes making it hard to breathe. I know what you might be thinking. Where’s the victory? Sometimes the victory is making it through the day, the next hour, or taking the next step or breath.
Right now I’m reading a book by C.S. Lewis entitled; “A Grief Observed”. It’s Lewis’ account of his grieving process, after his wife dies from cancer. Lewis writes; “The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” That pretty much sums it up. Death + absence = grief. However, there is one Bible story that keeps coming back to me. This is the account in John 11, where Jesus comes to Lazarus’s grave to resurrect him. In v33 we read, When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Now Jesus knew that He was going to bring Lazarus back to life. He could have turned and said, “Hey, lighten up! Things are going to work out.” Instead of ducking grief, Jesus takes it full in the face. The impact of grief upon Jesus is just two words found in v35. “Jesus wept.” I guess it’s OK for me to weep, since Jesus did. Please don’t judge anyone because of their tears. Christ cried too. Since He did, I know that my Savior understands. He didn’t run from sorrow and I know He will meet me in the midst of mine. He will also meet you in the midst of your pain. How do I know for sure? I know because He’s already been there, so He knows the way in and out. He finds each of us in our sorrow. Picking us up. Helping us take another step and even another breath. Eventually the day will come, when we find ourselves upright again, stronger than before, with a strength that comes only from Him.