Jesus is always good, but sometimes life can stink. That may seem like an odd statement, but it is one I not only believe, but I have quoted to myself many times.
Life can get tough, difficult and downright hard to even make it through a day much less a week or a month. Different seasons bring with them both blessings and burdens.
I praise God for the spring times in our life when it seems everything is alive; hope is renewed, and an expectancy of the future growth is in the air.
But life also has seasons of coldness, harshness and bitter experiences, just like the winter.
The one constant is the above truth – no matter what: Jesus is always good! When life is great, He is good and when life stinks, He is still good.
With that in mind, let me step into the space of the times when life is not so good and can “stink.” For many, the current Corona Pandemic is one of those times in life. We have either watched or even experienced death, sickness, lay-offs, business close and even churches not able to meet in buildings.
Which has produced feelings of anger, pain, doubt, fear and discouragement. A lot has been said, preached and written about dealing with these emotions as we have walked thru this season of “The Virus.”
One emotion that I have thought a lot about this week, and I have seen a few things said about but it has stirred thoughts in me as well. I am talking about the feeling of grieving or grief. We are mourning what we are missing.
In other words, whether we consciously do it or we actually take time and think through the losses that have come as a result of Corona, it is something we need to do and here is the kicker, its OK to do.
Did you read that too fast, maybe so, let me say it again – it is OK to grieve the losses from the Corona virus.
Do not feel guilt, shame, or see yourself as a failure because you are Christian and you think you should not have feelings of grief and sadness. These feelings are a part of the human experience and it is a part of the stages of emotions we all feel and need to walk through. Even for a Christian.
Think with me for a moment – what is there to grieve? I think we need to give ourselves a chance to grieve the change we have all faced and for the loss many have experienced.
Our world changed overnight, and we cannot even count all the changes and with each change it can create a sense of loss. Loss of routine, control (even if control is an illusion), independence, social interaction, sports, hobbies, finances and travel.
Not to mention the once in a lifetime events that have been forced to change or even cancel. Events like weddings, graduations, birthdays, ministry events, church services in our buildings and all of those family get together meals and BBQ s. Each one of these are mile markers on the journey of life and for them to change, be altered or cancel the celebrations of these moments, there will be a sense of loss.
So, what do we do with these emotions and is it OK? Let me give a few thoughts
1) Step into that space knowing it is not only OK but is needed for healing. One of the many stages we must go through in the journey of a crisis of change is the need to express how much it hurts when things change, and we lose something or someone. We must get real, stop pushing it down inside our soul and admit that we loss somethings. We must let ourselves mourn what we are missing.
2) Jesus shows us that in our humanity, Grief over loss is part of the human experience. Remember the shortest verse in the Bible – Jesus wept. Why did the Son of God cry? In this moment it was at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus. Now I know many would argue that He cried over what sin had done and that He would have to bring Lazarus back from paradise. And that may be true. But also, notice that when the Jews saw him cry, they said – O how He loved him! Jesus loved Lazarus and it grieved Him that he had died. I figure if Jesus cried over loss, so can we!
3) We must let it out in a right way, or it will all go very wrong. Here is what I mean. We need to let it out. But we need to do it where it does not bring harm to us or others. Grief can make some turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, porn even food. But instead we need to turn to those we love and especially the one that loves us the most – Jesus. So, pray, cry, let it out with your spouse, your family, your parents. Talk it out, cry it out and maybe even if you do get mad, do it in prayer.
Hold your horses you say, you can’t tell God how you really feel. Well, I simply say much of the Psalms is exactly that. So is Job. I believe you can do it in a healthy way and in respect, but guess what dear friend, He knows already. He longs for us to tell Him what is on our heart. If we open the wound, He can then bring the Balm of Gilead to heal it!
4) We need to step into the space of grief and let it out, but we do not need to live in the space. In Luke 24 Jesus comes on two disciples walking away from Jerusalem on Easter. They were discouraged, lost their hope and grieving the loss of Jesus. When He comes to them, He asks them to tell them what they were dealing with. At that point, He just listened. Once they got it out, then He directed them back to the word of God and took their hurting, grieving hearts and set them ablaze again.
He was showing us that we must step in and get honest but we then we must take the steps toward the future He has and leave the past in the past and move forward in hope knowing He has a purpose for us right now and He is at work even in our loss.
For us, we must do the same. Give it all to Jesus, talk to others. Get it out. Then, let Him replace that hurt with hope. Hope from His presence (He came to them and revealed himself to them in their moment of loss) and from His word.
Bottom line – it’s OK to grieve these losses we are all feeling right now. We need to. But then, by the power of Jesus, we can move forward and step into a hopeful present and a very hopeful future. I have said it many times in this season – There is Hope, In Christ Alone.
God bless you all.