Grief will immobilize you, but trusting in God brings freedom.
J.D. and Teri have struggled to find a sense of normalcy after the death of their daughter, Kathleen. But since their pastor challenged his church to act on their faith in Christ, J.D. has felt convicted to use Kathleen’s passing for God’s glory.
Sorrow, Grief, Joy, Healing, Mourning
J.D. sits in Kathleen’s old room, placing trophies and photos into a box to put away. His wife, Teri, interrupts him, wanting to know what he’s doing with their daughter’s things. “Something we should have done a long time ago,” he tells her. But Teri isn’t ready to give it up yet. “This is my daughter’s room!” She implores, “It’s the only thing I have left.” But J.D. knows that their time for grieving has passed. “This is not a room, sweetheart, it’s a museum. We’re not honoring her memory, we’re living in the past.” He goes on to talk about how they’ve held onto their grief for too long, saying that it’s not what God wants for them. With this, Teri begins to grow cold. “Where was God, that night we lost Kathleen?” J.D. explains: he was with the bartender, telling him not to serve the man another drink. He was with the drunken man, asking him to take a cab home instead of getting behind the wheel. And he was with J.D. and Teri, as they mourned the loss of their daughter. But rehashing the memory of their loss is too much for Teri, and she starts to break down into tears, asking why her husband has chosen now to pick up and move on. He credits Pastor Matthew’s challenge- that faith must be coupled with actions. “I want to do more with the time I’ve got. There’s a whole world of people out there who need help, who have no place to stay. And every time it rains, they sleep wet. And every time it’s cold, they sleep cold.” Teri isn’t thrilled though, and accuses him of turning their lives upside down because of a sermon. “No no no, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. That sermon just gave me the courage to do it.” And with this, Teri breaks into tears again; she and her husband sit on their daughter’s old bed, grieving and comforting one another.
The Bible is filled with stories of tragedy and mourning. From David to Jesus to the whole nation of Israel, Biblical figures have grieved over the deaths of loved ones. And sorrow is a normal, even healthy part of the human experience. Ecclesiastes 7:2-3 tells us that it is better to mourn than it is to feast, because it can give us time to reflect deeply on life, and even find joy in the midst of our suffering. Mourning shows that we truly valued something, and the importance of that should not be taken lightly. However, there should be an end to our grieving. Psalm 30:5 tells us that though we may weep through the night, joy comes with the morning. When our hearts are broken by tragedy, it can be easy to live like we’ll never know happiness again. But God desires so much more for us. He works everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and can turn heartbreaking moments into moments of rejoicing. In fact, one of God’s primary characteristics is His compassion. The Holy Spirit is called the Great Comforter, or our Helper (John 14:16), and God is called the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Because of the presence of sin in this world, there will always be reason to mourn. But if we are immobilized by our grief, we cannot know the joy and freedom that comes with being a child of God’s. Give your sorrows over to Him, and allow Him to transform your life.