Have you ever known both grief and Hope? I know it well. An underlying ache but a deep connection to Hope.
Sometimes, grief comes out while setting the table for 6, without even realizing until I get to the last bowl. This must be Zekey’s bowl. I smile, remembering who he was in our day to day, I ache wishing he were here on earth, healthy, ready to sit down and talk and laugh with us. But then, joy and Hope come rolling in- every time, knowing He is safe and I’ll meet Him there someday.
Something I have noticed over the years is that I can find myself feeling guilty for not hanging in the grief long enough. There is definitely something to allowing our pain and grief to come and not pushing it away too quickly. But guilt for not hanging in there long enough? That cannot be from the Lord.
I’ve wondered if some think we might just be covering our grief and wrapping our story in a pretty bow. Whether it’s from a sermon, or things people have said. I have let others’ thoughts on what they think one with loss should do, make me feel guilty for being in a place of Hope and true joy in the Lord for all He has done. I question, “Am I covering up my pain??”
So I have wondered and asked, what if God really did want us who grieve to eventually, in time, mostly be filled with the joy of our salvation and the hope of forever, knowing one day we will be together as one big family (The Church Body)?
What if He hasn’t demanded that we be joyful and hopeful but has invited us to it. Instead of sitting in the grief for long periods of time, maybe we reach for the gift of joy, true, lasting joy found in Him!
25King David said this about Him (Jesus):
‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. 26No wonder my heart is glad, And my tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in hope. (!!!) 27For You will not leave my soul among the dead Or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of Your presence.’
This is coming from a man who also lost a son. And lost a lot, actually. How? How can one with so much loss talk this way about God?
1 Thessalonians 4:13 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to believers who have died so you will not grieve like the people who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died.” **And some versions say (have gone to sleep) as we know that believers of Christ go on to live with Jesus.
We do not grieve like the world grieves. And we truly don’t. Our pain is so great, but our Hope is even greater!
As we wait for Jesus’ return, or for Him call us home, it’s His presence, even here and now, that gives us space to both grieve and be filled with joy. He catches the tears of the grieving ones, while tears fill His own eyes but offers hope and joy in the morning.
Psalms 30:11 “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. Oh Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
This dance of grief, joy and hope is one I never really wanted to learn, or have to practice. It’s a dance I’ve strangely come to love and hate simultaneously. It reminds me how much I love my people and walking with God in what He is calling me to here and now, while still knowing the ache of, ‘I’m not home yet’. To live is Christ, to die is gain. I feel that.
The intimacy I have with my heavenly Father is a joy and a blessing and His safe, loving arms, they carry me all the days of my life.