August 15th, 2017

Grief is brutal.

As a pastor, I have seen a lot of it. As a human being, I've felt my share. As a friend of those who carry it, I have wept. Grief has a way of sweeping everything away and shrinking my world down to a raw sense of loss. It can leave us adrift, confused, and overwhelmed. The death of someone we love can't be managed the way we manage our other problems. It's too acute. Too immediate. Too strong and dark.

Jesus knew what grief felt like. The Bible says that His life was marked by deep grief (Isa 53:3). In fact, it overwhelmed Him on occasion, like when His close friend John the Baptist was murdered. Scripture tells us, "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place." (Matt 14:13) In other words, His heart was broken. Can you see the Son of God sobbing alone, tears streaming down His face as He felt the screaming absence of His friend, who had been callously murdered by a petulant teenager? That's God Himself feeling grief. The holy mystery of the Christian faith is that God humbled Himself and became a human being, just like you and me, just as vulnerable as you and me, so that we could know His heart. I can't fully explain why, but it comforts me to see Him hurting like that. It reminds me that He understands me. It tells me that He feels pain, like I do, and that He isn't a detached ghost in the machine of my world - He is right here, in the middle of it. Of course, the dead will rise and that's the ultimate answer to grief. But knowing in the meantime that the living God grieves with me ... well, that tells me He is good. And it also helps me receive His solemn promise regarding Heaven; "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain." (Rev 21:4) Come quickly, Lord Jesus! I'll see you on Sunday. Be true!

Greg Daulton, Lead Pastor

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