When we think of someone who is grieving, we think of someone who has been impacted by death, by the loss of a loved one or friend. Grief causes all sorts of emotions: anger, depression, sadness, doubt, and more. I know I have felt all of those things in my life when I have dealt with the loss of a loved one. I even once punched a wall; I was so angry after a death. I’ve said some pretty terrible things at loved ones, friends, and even God. And there were times when I was in a deep malaise, in a funk where I did not feel like myself and full of frustration if it would ever end.
We are grieving, my friends. As you read this you may not have had a loved one die from COVID-19 at this time. But we are suffering loss. Our youth have lost being at school, of seeing friends and teachers and the comfort that comes from the routine of school. Many are grieving that lost time and also all those experiences that we so often took for granted: concerts and plays, sports and dances, and all the rituals of school life.
We are grieving the loss of normalcy, of having to work from home and limit our contact. We are grieving from seeing those we love, from family and friends. We grieve that we can’t go to the gas station or grocery store without worry or showering ourselves with hand sanitizer. We grieve the loss of having a meal at our favorite restaurant, going to the movies, or sitting in our favorite coffee shop. We grieve the upheaval of society and our daily lives. We grieve the loss of control and we yearn; we ache for when we can “get back to normal.”
All this loss might make us angry and looking for someone or something to blame. It might make us depressed, anxious, and fearful. We might be getting frustrated and impatient. We might be getting angry. And then we see some of the phrases that are being used at this time, phrases like “Stay Safe. Stay Strong.” Or “We are all in this together.” We hear those phrases and then we beat ourselves up for not staying strong, for feeling like we aren’t in this together, for being angry and depressed and worried all the time. We are grieving.
There is no shame in grieving. You know who else grieved? Jesus. Jesus saw his friend Lazarus dead, saw the grief the poured out of his sisters, his friends, and he wept. He wept. Jesus saw the anger of the people who called for his death on a cross and grieved them, asked God to forgive them. Jesus grieved. And then Jesus brought life from death. Lazarus was raised. Jesus was raised so that we would have new life. So that we would see, even in the midst of grief, hope. Life.
We will not always be strong in these times. We will grieve. We will mourn. But we will also endure. We will survive. And we will rise. We will rise anew because Jesus has risen and because our Savior grieves with us. Weeps with us. Comforts us. Carries our burdens for us. If there is one thing I have learned from all the grief I’ve had in my life it is this: Jesus is with me. When I was angry, I felt Jesus calming me down. When I acted horribly to those I love, Jesus brought forgiveness and helped heal those relationships. When I wept, Jesus wept with me. And Jesus will do the same for you. We are grieving. But we will arise, anew. We will. And Jesus will be there for us. Always.