Can Christians Grieve?

Grief: deep sorrow; trouble or annoyance.

When my husband died, I didn’t really understand grief. I didn’t know how to manage it. Often, the words of “comfort” I got from other Christians made me wonder if I had enough faith. If I had enough faith, I wouldn’t be sad but would be celebrating. If I had enough faith, I would just keep on going. I often heard this verse:

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

I couldn’t give thanks for my husbands death. Did that mean my faith was empty? Did I need to be happy and cheerful and not weep? Was I failing by grieving deeply?

The answer: NO. My faith gave me hope through the tears and pain. Faith allowed me to be thankful for the time and the family we had while still grieving the loss. Faith upheld me when I couldn’t stand on my own.

I have friends that are grieving today. Not the loss of a person, but the loss of something important and special. Anytime there is change, good or bad, there is a time of grief for what is no more. We may grieve the death of a dream, an idea or an expectation. We grieve when someone we greatly admire falls off of the pedestal and proves they are human. We grieve when something we love and have worked to support is irrevocably changed.

One thing I have learned to accept over the years is that I NEED to allow myself to grieve. No matter how important or trivial the issue is, I have to process it. I have to work through it in order to move on as a whole person. Not only do I need to grieve, I cannot feel guilt (or at times superiority) for my grief. My grief is not meant to shame or belittle anyone else. It’s my process and mine alone.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6

No matter how broken things appear, no matter how helpless I feel, I know that God controls it all. There will be times when I need to sit and rest for a bit, catch my breath, and then start the journey again. I may cry bitter tears, but that’s okay. I have my eyes on the prize that God has set before me.

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