Monday, October 26, 2015

Good Grief - Martin Wiles

I weep with grief; encourage me by your word. Psalm 119:28 NLT

I remember it as the one time in my life when I openly grieved. I don’t come from a crying family. If we shed tears, we did so in private…and then only for brief episodes. But for me, grieving changed when my father died. I thought I was handling it well as I watched him die in an Atlanta hospital. I even kept my composure when we went to the funeral home to view his body prior to the funeral. But during the funeral—as songs were played that my father loved, I lost my composure. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t hold back the tears or even the open weeping. This grief was different, but it was good. It helped me process my loss. 

Spending 70 years serving ruthless enemies was discouraging for God’s people. These same enemies had also destroyed what was most precious to them: the Temple in Jerusalem. And so they cried…grieved. Would they ever leave captivity? Would God’s house ever be rebuilt?

There was a time when the picture of the strong rugged American kept many from weeping openly. Crying wasn’t for boys or men, and women didn’t do a whole lot of it either. We could handle anything. We could pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. 

Depending on the translation used, “Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in the Bible. He wept when he looked at Jerusalem—a city of unbelievers with a sordid history. He wept when his good friend Lazarus died prematurely. He cried on his knees in a garden when he thought of his impending doom on the cross. 

If the Son of God grieved, it must be something good about it. Grieving—in whatever form it appears, is beneficial. It helps me process what has brought my sorrow. Tears release pressure and cleanse the soul. They are for strong minded people not weak minded pansies. Only when grief goes beyond a reasonable period or is processed in unhealthy ways does it stop being good and start bringing harm. 

Let yourself experience good grief when sorrow comes into your life. 

Prayer: Father, comfort us in our times of grief so we might comfort others in theirs.

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