I have some dramatic scars – some from accidents and a couple from surgeries. There are memories from each scar. As much as skin heals, it remains tender. Touch the tissue and it doesn’t feel quite right.
Some of the deepest scars people have are from losing a loved one. The loss can be so deep, so painful, so palpable, it can feel like vice grips crushing your heart. Even after years, things don’t necessarily feel quite right.
C.S. Lewis, known for his great writings, had analyzed pain philosophically in his book The Problem of Pain. But when his wife Joy died, Lewis reflected upon his loss in A Grief Observed. But Lewis couldn’t put his name on the book. Instead, he used a pseudonym – N.W. Clerk – and referred to his wife as “H” – a reference to her rarely used first name, Helen. The wound was too tender for him to have his or her names associated with this latter work.
Grief and loss feels intense, lonely, and dark. We can feel like no one understands. Our broken heart feels the darkness closing in. But we were never intended to bear the burden of grief alone. “Mourn with those who mourn,” Paul says in Romans 12:15. The intensity of our grief can make it hard to mourn with others. So Paul instructs other Christians to have an empathetic response to those around us.
Christians know that the Lord Jesus Christ is “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). He was not merely sympathetic or empathetic of other people’s pain. Rather, His experience of grief was a pain that He felt within Himself. Seeing sin, death, and evil, Jesus grieved the great evils that infect this world, going to the cross to bear that grief in his body (1 Pe 2:24a).
In mourning with those who mourn, there is a powerful opportunity for remembering and healing. Without a proper response to grief, mourning can turn into sorrow and grow into bitterness, which can be like a gangrene that festers and poisons us. But in coming to God with our griefs, we can remember how he bears our burdens and pains and heal us by his wounds (Isa. 53:5; 1 Pe. 2:24b) so that we may not sin against others. They never did that to Jesus. We pray they don’t do that to us.
On Sunday, April 22nd, our Stephen Ministry will host a time of remembrance for those who have experienced a loss. It is a wonderful opportunity to pour out our hearts of grief before the Lord and remember how He bears our burdens and carries our sorrows (Isa. 53:4). We will have prayers of remembrance, a time of remembering your loved one, a reflection of hope, and the reminder that Jesus has overcome the grave by his resurrection.
If you would like to remember a loved one, would you contact us by March 30th? We would love to carry your burdens and share in your sorrow so that the wounds of Jesus would bring healing to your soul.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.