” I’m hurting Lord- will you forget me forever?
How much longer, Lord?
Will you look the other way when I’m in need?
How much longer must I cling to this constant grief?
I’ve endured this shaking of my soul.
So how much longer will my enemy have the upper hand?
It’s been long enough!
Take a good look at me, God, and answer me! “
We live in a world tainted by sin. When sin entered the world it promised to affect our lives probably much more than the first couple Adam and Eve ever expected.
As a result of sin, we have become all too familiar with this hated foe called death. Who says death also says grief and pain.
You may be, like many others who find themselves on this platform, single, saved and secure in your identity in Christ or married, saved and secure or maybe you are not even saved yet but you want to know more about Jesus. Regardless of where you are in life, for all of us, irrespective of our status, we all become affected at some point or another by death.
Death often comes unannounced and like a tsunami, it destroys everything in its path. It can take away our hope, bring gut-wrenching pain and leave us mourning until all we can do is weep, bringing loud cries that stem from deep within us into God’s ears. For unbelievers, who do not have the hope of resurrection in Christ, death is the end. A full stop. However, for the true Christian, death is not the end. We have this hope as the hymn says that burns within our hearts, the hope of the coming of the Lord and we know that when He comes, the dead in Christ shall rise and we who are alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet our Savior (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). Still, until then, we face a harsh reality.
When the pain of death and grief strike, it can leave us feeling much like David did in Psalms 13. Desperate for hope and help from God, David had trouble reconciling the truth of who God is with the reality of his present circumstance, his grief, and despair. His questions are simply an honest cry to God that things are not supposed to be this way. In other words, David was saying: “why would you not intervene God? Why and how long am I supposed to bear this pain? How much longer will you allow pain, sin, and grief to have their way in this world? “. Those are perfectly valid questions; questions I personally have voiced to God in a complaint and in the grief of the loss of loved ones.
Why Lord? How long will you allow this to go on?
Why did she have to die? How long will I continue to mourn and hurt?
Though as Christians we have a hope that never fails, hope in Jesus Christ, it does not take away from the reality of our pain and suffering. Hope and trust in God are not mutually exclusive to pain and suffering. Our pain and our suffering are very real, nothing to laugh about and certainly nothing to be ignored. Yet our hope and trust are what keep our heart beating to the cadence of God’s heartbeat. The pain we experience during such loss is just a very real and raw reminder that things were never supposed to be this way. God’s original plan for us did not include death and suffering yet because of sin, this is where we find ourselves. Our hearts are longing for our true home, Eden.
When those we love are hurting, we must remain by their side. Sin is real, pain is real but Jesus is even more real. We can simultaneously bear each other’s pain and burden, mourn with those who mourn and remind them of the promises of God and the hope we have in Jesus. When death strikes our friends and our family members, let us mourn by their side. Let us not be so quick to bring uplifting words but acknowledge their pain, acknowledge the sadness and heartbreak, sit in “ashes and sackcloth ” with them while still trusting in God. We can do far more for those we love by walking hand in hand with them in their pain and grief than by trying to pull them out of the pain.
~Pain and grief demand to be felt yet hope and trust in Jesus remain our anchors. ~
Father in heaven, when our hearts are broken and death strikes once more, we are reminded that it was never supposed to be this way. While we mourn and hurt, we invite you in our pain and ask that you walk alongside us and of those who are hurting and grieving. Comfort us, Lord, as you have promised that those who mourn shall be comforted. Meet us where we are and help us meet others where they are whether in joy and happiness or in pain and suffering. Let our love for our brothers and sisters be reflected even more when they hurt and need a shoulder to lean on.
More than ever Jesus, we need you. Come, Lord Jesus, come quick! And teach us to trust you even in our pain and distress.
In Jesus’ name
Job 2:11-13 -how to mourn with others
1 Thessalonians 4:14-17