Grief as a Lost Art

There was once a time where I received a phone call informing me I didn’t get a job that I was banking on. Upon hearing this shocking news I felt something like a golf ball forcing its way down my esophagus and into the deep pits of my stomach where it would reside as I spent the rest of the day digesting the news. As I slunk down on the cushions of a couch in my college’s student union area, I was approach by a number of people inquiring how my talk with my “future employer” went. When I brought down the hammer of the news, they all responded in the same fashion. It was as if Christians upon salvation came equipped with an auto-reply feature in the face of trouble: “Don’t worry! God’s got a plan for you!” No matter how true that is, it gets old after hearing it about fifteen times in three hours.

I mean, come on, do we really believe we can glaze over our grief and trouble because we have hope in God? Yes, God provides a living hope in our lives, but the problem is that it is an infinite hope in a finite world. The world is limited, it is flawed, it is broken, and it has no hope for itself outside of God. To have hope in a hopeless world, instantly posits for itself an adversary. The hopeless. With this comes conflict. And with conflict comes resolution, which involves overcoming the conflict. We don’t actually overcome the conflict by placing a blanket over our grief with the excuse that God is healer or He has a plan for our lives. We overcome it when we have gone through a change that gives us the strength we need to conquer that conflict.

I say all this because there are actually Christians out there who do not grieve in the right way because they believe that by having hope in God, they are not suppose to grieve. Grieving is for the hopeless! False! Grieving is for the human stuck in a human world, and moreover for those with a godly faith in a human world. Because if anything, we know that halos don’t negate trouble, they become a magnet to it!

Those who grieve rightly acknowledge the conflict, and don’t have their conviction in God be a band-aid for the problem but rather be a motivator for overcoming the problem.

In 1 Samuel 30:1-6, King David didn’t pretend that everything was alright when the Amelekites captured his wives and his people. He weeped! He weeped a good amount I can imagine! But in the Scripture, everything changes in verse 6 where it says, “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” This doesn’t mean he put the band-aid on the problem. We know this because he consulted God and the result ended up in change within David. He overcame the problem by having God be the motivator for the change needed to overcome conflict.

Now for those of you who believe that we have no reason to grieve or lament because Jesus died for our sins, you’re wrong. If your faith is anything like mine, you’ll come to learn that the belief of the Perfect dying for the imperfect is not a popular belief. Jesus messed up my life, and it is definitely something I am proud of, not because it makes conflict seem like a stroll through a field of dandelions, but because it makes me alive to conflict. He gives me the change I need to change the world for His sake.

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