We at St. Paul have experienced much sadness over the last couple of months. As I find myself looking for comfort and guidance, I would like to share with you my journey as a Pastor who grieves alongside you. For this newsletter, I would like to remind us of how Jesus handled grief.
Here are a couple of scriptures verses that I found comfort in.
Matthew death of John -14:13, 14
13 When Jesus learned what had happened, He got on a boat and went away to spend some time in a private place. The crowds, of course, followed Jesus on foot from their cities. 14 Though Jesus wanted solitude, when He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, and He healed the sick and the lame.
Jesus sought solitude after the news of John’s death. Sometimes we may need to deal with our grief alone. Jesus often sook solitude and it was a priority for him. It is important that we take time in our busy schedules to be alone with God.
Jesus did not dwell on his grief but returned to the ministry he came to do. I find myself needing to work in the garden or sit on my patio and listen to the birds chirp and maybe see a squirrel run across the telephone wires. It reminds me that life is still beautiful and alive and someday I will feel that way again too. It helps me to have a refreshed compassion for those around me.
John 11:35-44 (CEB)
35 Jesus began to cry. 36 The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. 39 Jesus said “Remove the stone.”
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.” 40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” 41 So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
I find comfort in the fact that Jesus wept because his friend Lazarus was dead. I believe that he was moved by compassion for Lazarus’s sisters Martha and Mary and seeing them weeping caused him to weep. Perhaps he empathized with their grief. Jesus showed that he cares enough for us to weep with us in our sorrow. Here we see many examples of Jesus emotions, such as compassion, anger, sorrow, and frustration. All of these emotions are a normal part of grieving. Jesus often expressed emotion, and we must never be afraid to reveal our true feelings to him. He understands them, and has experienced them. Be honest, with your emotions and be honest with the one who cares about those emotions, your friends and family and our Savior. Jesus has the power over life and death, for he says, “Since I live, you too will live” (14:19).
Over the next couple of months, I will continue to share scripture readings that might help us on our grief journey. In the meantime dear friends, find comfort in our Lord and Savior and remember the words from the Apostle Paul from
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 (VOICE)
51 Stay close because I am going to tell you a mystery—something you may have trouble understanding: we will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will all happen so fast, in a blink, a mere flutter of the eye. The last trumpet will call, and the dead will be raised from their graves with a body that does not, cannot decay. All of us will be changed! 53 We’ll step out of our mortal clothes and slide into immortal bodies, replacing everything that is subject to death with eternal life. 54 And, when we are all redressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immortality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says:
Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death.
55 Hey, Death! What happened to your big win? Hey, Death! What happened to your sting?
56 Sin came into this world, and death’s sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. 57 Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave.
58 My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God.
My prayers continue to be with all you.