Life After Loss: Learning From Jesus
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 'Where have you laid. him?' he asked. 'Come and see, Lord,' they replied. Jesus wept." John 11: 34-35
Before I begin, first let me say this, comfort and strength from the Holy Spirit is my sincerest prayer for all who have lost a loved one. This past year I have witnessed so many of God's children grieving. As anniversaries and birthdays pass and now the holidays around the corner, the journey of grief is different for everyone and never easy.
Jesus and His encounter with loss ...
The scripture verses mentioned above tell us of how Jesus encountered and responded to loss. Jesus wept when He saw His friends weeping. Lazarus was a friend that Jesus loved greatly. Even though Jesus resurrected him (to bring God glory); Jesus understood the sadness and pain of losing someone He loved and seeing those He loved in pain. Living in a fallen world, death will be encountered. What can we learn?
It's okay to cry. When someone dies, whether it was anticipated, unexpected or tragic, crying is a natural response. Crying heals the soul and spirit. Jesus cried. He was not weak, He was not foolish, He was/is strong, wise and He is our Savior. He cried.
Gather around your support. Jesus went to Mary and Martha. The sisters in that passage of scripture also had other people that were there to support and comfort them.You do not have to grieve alone. Allow people in your life that you trust to be there for you.
Martha and Mary cried and spoke with Jesus. Martha and Mary knew the great love of Jesus and what He could do. Before the miracle, they were in pain and accepted Lazarus's outcome and still their faith and trust in Jesus remained. Jesus made Himself available to Mary and Martha and is available to us as well. Lean into Him during your time of loss and allow Him to comfort you.
Another scripture to make mention is Matthew 14:12-13 where Jesus responded to His cousin John the Baptist's death:
"John's disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus. Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; ..."
Jesus and His response to loss:
In reading the scriptures above what can we learn?
We can both be around our support and also withdraw at times to be alone. The important thing to notice is that when you withdraw, who are you withdrawing to? If you look at other scriptures in the Bible, Jesus would withdraw to pray. He would speak with our heavenly Father during His alone time. God is there to listen to you.
You may have the need or desire to be alone at times while you're grieving. That is common and okay. Give yourself permission to grieve. Jesus did. Sometimes just "being" in God's presence can comfort us.
We must continue to live life and have purpose in our own lives despite the significant losses we experience. Right now it may be difficult to see, it may be difficult to have the will to consider living life. After the death of Jesus's cousin John, if you read further along in the scripture (vv.14-25) you will see how Jesus continued in His ministry from feeding five thousand, healing people, and much much more.
For us, as we continue to live life after the loss of a loved one, we don't "move on" or "forget about them". We don't ever "get over it" and we don't ignore it. Our loved ones become a part of us as we live each day. Celebrate them and who they were. Don't be afraid to cry and don't be afraid to seek help. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His friends to pray and stay watch with Him. That sounds like our Savior was asking for His support during that dark time of His life. Who are we to not? Until next time.
Strength & Comfort,