“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Grief and Hope.
As we approach the 2 year mark of my dad’s passing, these two words have been resonating in my mind and heart.
Sometimes these words seem mutually exclusive. If you are grieving, can you really have hope? If you have hope, are you allowed to grieve?
And the more I process, the more I come to the conclusion that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes!
Grief and hope don’t have to be “either/or”. It can be Grief AND Hope. Hand and hand. Side by side.
I look at the story of Jesus and Lazarus.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are close to Jesus. Jesus cared about them and so when they sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, you would think that he would have ran to the town where he was and healed him right away. Instead the Bible says that because he loved Lazarus, he stayed where he was two more days. Eventually he made his way to where Lazarus was, but by this time, his friend had died. Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.
Jesus went to the tomb and in John 11:35, we see 2 powerful words.
If you know the story, you know that Jesus ended up raising Lazarus from the dead. His friend came out of the tomb alive and well. They took off his burial clothes and Lazurus lived the rest of his life.
But the thing that has been getting me is that Jesus knew that there was hope. He had told his disciples that this wouldn’t end in death. He knew that he would see his friend again. He knew that when he saw his friend, he would be well, no longer sick.
Yet he still wept.
Grief AND Hope.
And I think it’s the same for us today. When we lose someone who had a relationship with Jesus, we know that there is hope. We know that death doesn’t get the final word in eternity. We know that we will see our loved one again. We know that when we see him or her again, they will be fully made well in their new heavenly body.
Yet we still weep.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to weep. It’s okay to not be okay. As long as by the end of the day, we realize that when we grieve, we don’t grieve like those without hope.
And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.