During an “ask me anything” panel event for work, a student asked, “If we believe in the afterlife, why do people mourn and cry after someone has died.” The panel was quick to explain that funerals are often more to comfort the living, providing a sense of closure and reminder of that hope of Heaven and the resurrection of the body, and to pray for the repose of the soul of the person who had passed. In the moment, the explanation was short and to the point and sincerely satisfied the asker’s interest.
Yet there is so much more that could be said in regards to why and how and when we grieve—mainly that it is incredibly complex and personal. There is no one-size-fits-all perfect answer. Mourning and grief take many shapes and patterns and journeys. There’s not a clear-cut timeline, process, etc. And as helpful as it could seem to be to have a map dictating how you’re meant to feel a day, six weeks, or ten years after losing a loved one, there is beauty in the openness and freedom to process in your own way and time.
Jesus’ response to the disciple in today’s Gospel is challenging and even confusing (Matthew 8:18-22). But there is likely more to the story than the Gospel writer included in his verses and while we can’t know everything this side of Heaven, we can dig deeper in this story as well as those from other Gospels to get a fuller sense of Jesus’ relationship with grief. From the story of the raising of Lazarus, we know that Jesus weeps for His friend while fully knowing that it was not the end (John 11:1-44). Christ knows what it means to grieve a loved one and demonstrates that grief does not equate to a lack of faith.
There is no manual for grief. It’s hard and it’s painful. Mercifully, we have a God Who longs to enter into that grief with us; we only have to extend the invitation.
Do you know a friend or loved one who is grieving a loss right now? Pray for them, sweet sister, and consider reaching out to let them know you’re doing so.Christ knows what it means to grieve. // Sarah Rose Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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