Sunday, February 3, 2013

Grieving to glory.

I was recently asked the question, What part does grief play in God's plan?

That's a big question and one I couldn't claim to understand, but here are some thoughts around this issue...

Grief is a natural response to something evil, wrong, not of God and not ever good.  If we did not sin, if our world was not fallen, we would not die and we would not grieve.  In grief, we acknowledge the fallenness of humanity, the role evil plays in our everyday lives. It awakens within us the cry that says, This is wrong!  This wasn't supposed to happen!  Things are not as they are supposed to be!

It reminds me of Hebrews 2:5f - ...You crowned [humanity] with glory and honour and put everything under his/her feet.  In putting everything under him/her, God left nothing that is not subject to him/her.  But now we do not see all things in subjection to him/her... But we see Jesus.

The Christian is given all authority in Christ to loose what is loosed in heaven and to bind what is bound in heaven.  We are given the promise of eternal life, an indwelling Spirit of the living God, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead...

But... now we do not see all things in subjection to him.  The fulfilment of all we are promised in Christ is not fully matured... not yet complete.

Greif happens when we face an evil that isn't what it ought to be... We are not supposed to be sexually abused.  We are not supposed to watch loved ones get sick and die, or starve of hunger and disease.  We are not supposed to conceive children that will never grace this world with their smile or touch us with their gift of life... We stand in the light of God's promises and say...Everything is not made right!  I do not see all things in subjection under my feet!  I do not have the power to save my child's life, to end civil war, to stop a miscarriage, to bring my husband back to life.

So, we grieve.  Grieving is right and good.  It does not accept the evil in this world as okay, acceptable, just the way things are.  The hope of eternal life burning inside me cries out in anger and bitter tears that evil still roams and reigns in this world of death.  That separation from God and loved ones exists.  This is the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings.  This is why Jesus looked over Jerusalem and wept, longing to embrace the city as a mother hen would wrap her wings around her young...

There is room in my faith for grief.  There is a righteous place for sackloth and ashes.  If we have the mind of Christ and his indwelling Spirit within us, than how dare we look around the world and not grieve!  How dare we not fall to our knees and weep!  Because things are not as He would have them to be!  

Too often we blame God for our broken world, instead of recognizing His grief due to our sin that caused such brokenness and shame in the first place.

God grieves. Jesus wept. And so do I.  But it is not in vain, because the promise burns within me... That one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!!!

Grieve, dear one.  Whatever wrong has been done to you, wherever evil has reigned in your life... grieve.  But do it "unto the Lord", in righteousness and faith, positioned towards glory, feet planted on the Way everlasting, rooted and grounded in the word of God.  Only God can lead us through our griefs to a place of healing and joy.  Only God can restore our souls.  Only God can mature our faith and lead us from glory to glory, to the fulfilment of His great plan... eternal life, the fullness of our salvation in Him.  All things will one day be made right, and the goodness of God will be the light and warmth that dances across our face, as we hold hands with our loved ones, rejoicing as one, our cups running over, bubbling over in joyfulness, as we lay our crowns at His feet in wondrous worship...

Grieve, my sisters and brothers in the faith.  Grieve unto glory.


  1. I think this post has touched me the most deeply. there is so much truth here; such hope; such strength.

    You are the strongest woman i know, and you are so covered, so loved, so anointed... I am blessed by your words, your life, your friendship, your grief (in the most sincere way, in the most positive way).

    Continue to press into Christ, and allow the tears to flow... thank you for your wisdom as you walk through this valley.

    I Love you.

  2. These are powerful words - words of life, words of truth.

    The fact that there is room in your faith for grief enables you to articulate the heaviness of your heart with sheer honesty, while still communicating an inexplicable sense of hope and confidence that God remains trustworthy and in control.

    Thank you.

  3. Natasha, this is powerful. Thank you for your continuous sharing of the rawness of your heart - your words and transparency through your grief, joy, and process have stirred many hearts, mine included. This is beautiful. This is good. There is room in our faith...Amen!

    Thank you love!

  4. Natasha,
    We dont know each other but my friend Nicole Clark sent me a link to your post. My wife and I lost our son Ethan 2 weeks ago to congenital heart disease and we are deeply grieving and searching for understanding. I love your post as it offers an explanation looking back on causality of tragedy. One of the biggest encouragements to me has been John 12:24: "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds (much fruit)." My hope is that in Ethan's passing he will produce many seeds, and truly he has blessed so many people with his short 32 week life, more than many do their entire lives. So my main encouragement has been hope looking forward.
    I am wrestling with balancing the brokenness of our world with the sovereignty of God: that in God's perfect big picture view he intentionally allows Satan to have power to kill our families. I dont know if you know John Piper but i was just listening to one of his sermons on suffering. You've got to have a whole lot of faith in the goodness of God to accept this as encouragement, and pray that the Lord gives you eyes to see what seeds are being produced by the suffering. I have been so comforted and amazed at God's grace over our family in this time, and have seen his goodness. This has been my strength because i know I dont have it on my own. By God's grace I am seeing the seeds and gaining courage. I hope that you are too.

    1. Ken, no one can know the pain and suffering you and your family are going through. I so appreciate you writing to me and sharing a bit of your heart. I do know John Piper and always appreciate his profound words of wisdom and his courage to delve into the depths of God's character and the things we struggle with here on earth. Can I also recommend a book that has helped me greatly, called A Grace Disguised - How the Soul Grows Through Loss, by Jerry Sitser? I find his wrestling to be honest, simple and yet profound, true to the pain and suffering of grief while remaining true to the grace that God provides for us to endure... I have recorded a few resources here on my blog, if any of them could be helpful to you.

      Many blessings to you and your family. I know God will be faithful to bring beauty out of ashes for you, as he is for me... Every journey is unique, unimaginably hard, but as Jerry says, it is a grace disguised... Slowly, but surely, we keep living, some days, whether we want to or not :)