The passing of a loved one is often a devastating and life-altering event. It conjures emotions from deep within that often prompts thoughts such as “It’s not supposed to be like this … One minute my life was ‘normal’ and it has now become unbearable …” As this new existence begins to unfold throughout the many bouts with grieving emotions, a pervasive question may begin to surface … why did God allow this?
In search of answers, it may become difficult to see bible verses with spiritual eyesight. In the beginning of the book of James, there’s a passage from a section entitled Faith and Endurance. We are told …
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
We may read verses such as this with an inability to extrapolate “great joy” from such immense pain. Our lives may even seem completely devoid of joy in the aftermath.
The truth is that grieving is a natural process and examples are illustrated throughout the word of God. In John 11:35 Jesus Christ Himself grieved the loss of His dear friend Lazarus yet as our knowledge of the life of Jesus also begins to unfold, it becomes evident that grief is never the end of the story.
Just hours prior to His death on the cross, Jesus spoke to His followers …
“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy … Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”
As Christians, there are many perspectives on death and grieving. When our lives are affected by the death of someone close, there is an invariable sting of our loss today but God promises this … the belief and the hope of a blessed reunion can indeed sustain us as He begins to replace our despair with the promise of joy.