Often times many don’t know how or what to do when a loved one passes or a tragic event happens. We simply forget or lose the words our hearts long to speak because of the immense grief we feel from losing someone near and dear to our hearts. We feel as though our tethered hearts have no place to rest or comfort our aching souls. Friends, family members, and those who love us may feel ill equipped to say or help because of the ambiguity of how each person may want or need to be helped. In this article I hope to help you understand how to find joy even through grief.
As I write this, I’m currently going through a grieving process because of the death of my grandmother. She was kind, sweet, charitable, and someone that loved me unconditionally. Her influence in my life is immeasurable and I’ll never be able to thank her enough. The outpouring of love from those closest to me and even from distant acquaintances has been a balm to my weeping heart. Some have invited me to their house, asked me to dinner, given me space, or offered whatever they could and been in constant contact. Witnessing this opened my eyes to see how every person conveys and shows love and comfort differently in times of distress. But their love for me was displayed nonetheless. While the people in my life have helped me tremendously, one thing above all has helped me the most.
A God Who Cares
Remembering and savoring the goodness of who God is, what he has done for me, and the perfection that encompasses all of what it means that there is a God who is sovereign and in control over all of creation. To know I don’t have to be all things to all people but rely on a God who is brings peace that surpasses all understanding. This has helped me understand how to find joy even through grief.
But, what does it mean that God is sovereign? First it means that God is the creator and sustainer of all things, and we see this in the very first sentence of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). This displays the magnitude of what God can do. He created everything we see on Earth and he exist beyond all time and space that we can imagine or even fathom. All things whether knowingly or unknowingly are made for God and by God, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). All things that we create, cultivate, or grow are all done because of a God who enables and empowers these things.
A Friend Who Grieves with You
Much of what has been said displays the power and the height of God being creator or ruler. While God does have these qualities, he is also a God who dwells with his people in the muck and the mire of our everyday lives. This is best seen through the coming of Christ who lived with, ate with, rejoiced with, and even lamented with the very people who both rejoiced with him and persecuted him. He welcomed sinners like you and me, and befriended us like no other friend could or ever has. He showed us how to find joy even through grief.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus was a man who welcomed the likes of those whom were the outcast of society (Matthew the tax collector, seen as the lowest in society) and the religiously pious like nicodemus (A Pharisee, a group of the religiously elite who were seen as the model of devotion to God and his ways) and everyone in between. The Christ that came down to earth was one who was “Gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). He was the epitome of what it meant to be human to its fullest extent.
In Luke 7:36-50, a woman comes to Jesus (who is most likely a prostitute), and welcomes her gladly and openly because of the faith she had and the action taken because of it. She sacrificed a cherished possession of hers and washed the feet of the savior despite being in the presence of someone who saw her as dirty, unredeemable, and not worthy to be in their presence. But her fidelity to Jesus shone through. Jesus moves on to explain that her adoration of him was admirable, while the Pharisee who invited him to dine merely saw him as a good teacher or wise man.
Experiencing Sorrow Over the Death of a Loved One
John 11:28, this is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and experiencing sorrow over the loss of a loved one. When Jesus was told about the loss of Lazarus, many may expect a cold response. He is God after all, and doesn’t he know all things and how they’ll end? Yes. Yes he does. But here is his response to seeing a beloved friend of his weeping,
When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubledJohn 11:33
Jesus felt emotion, loved people, and cared for their well being.
Jesus Christ the God-Man, relates and empathizes with the very people he came to save and redeem. There is no amount of sin or kind of sin that eliminates people from being able to be seen and saved by Christ. There are who are good enough because “…All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christ welcomes sinners like you and me gladly and freely.
Knowing God Brings Joy During Sorrow
Knowing God and his word is the reason that this time of grieving has been one of a joyful yet sorrowful season. Paul sums this up perfectly:
We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.(2 Cor 4:8-9).
My joy comes from knowing that God is good both to me and good for me. That he is with me at all times. And that I have savior who cares for me. I plead with you, come and experience God and his goodness. Not in what he gives, but in the character of who he is. God is better than anything we can ever receive or inherit on earth because he is absolutely perfect. Come taste and see that the Lord is good. A life with God isn’t a life void of hardships, but it is a life filled with purpose and a promise from the one who never fails to sustain and keep us for all of our lives. God can teach us how to find joy even through grief.
A Prayer for You
My prayer for you is that you would repent of your sins and believe in Christ and his finished work at the cross. Because the ultimate way to get freedom, is to be in humble submission to Christ and his word. I hope my story and sharing of my experience with grief can give you a glimpse of how God has moved in my life and how he redeems all things. God bless.