“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
— Matthew 5:4 (NRSV)
Oh how we grieve in this life.
But we yet not grieve as God grieves, and we can learn a lot about self-care and the appropriateness of grief when we take counsel directly from the Spirit that meanders all through life, grieving eternally—not that God is only grieving.
When we grieve as God grieves, then we are comforted with a comfort only God can give: a very clean and succinct pain that heals as it cleanses us with a thrush of divine antiseptic.
But again, how common it is to grieve in this life, for we are continually losing things, whilst the things we gain lose their significance—their novelty—very easily.
Our losses, however, hit us on a grander scale.
Grief in this life—in this worldly existence—paralyses us two ways: we deny it because it’s too painful or we are angered by it and blame everything, including God. Neither results in healing, because neither is nestled in the will of God. These are maladaptive forms of grieving, because we grieve the right things in the wrong way.
We have the opportunity, though, to venture gently on a divine road, into the heart of God so far as true grief is concerned.
Here is our opportunity to know God, to think for a moment how God thinks, and to reframe our approach to grief.
God grieves many things that occur in everyday life. Like sin. Like a turning away from the truth. Like when people aren’t loved when they deserve to be loved. Like when innocent people suffer needlessly. The list runs on.
God is not opposed to us grieving our personal losses; he designed us and built us to grieve, because we cannot love and not grieve. Grief is one of the central costs of love. And we will suffer if we love; the name of that suffering is grief.
So we have the option and the opportunity to grieve as a worldly-focused person would, or to transcend those foci and surrender our sadness to God to be remediated.
God wants us to grieve in accord with the truth. He wants us to grieve the important things; the relational things that we get wrong and the relationships we lose. One leads to others’ healing, the other leads to our own healing.
Grief and healing go together as a hand goes in a glove. This is God’s will, but it can only occur when we go God’s way. The key is to grieve as God grieves.
The things of love we grieve appropriately when we lose them. We cannot help it. It is right to grieve them. When love is the datum point of our grief we grieve as God grieves. However painful such grief is, it is right and appropriate to grieve.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.