Some of us in the church fear suffering and evil because our faith does not hold up under criticism and doubt, whereas, Biblical suffering proves the very need in every heart for the Suffering Savior acquainted with grief that conquers sin and death on the cross. If we have ever made the life of following Christ easy, may we repent in truth that dying to self and living a new transformed life in Christ costs. Rosaria Butterfield said it best, “So die to self, take up a cross, and don’t expect that your personal experience is going to go any better than the Savior you love and follow.”
Our world in darkness walks, and what do we answer about such darkness that Believer and Unbeliever alike face? My aim in following pages is to give words to those who are suffering from grief of all kinds. I want to bring comfort to those who sit in darkness with the Light of Truth. For when we find ourselves in the furnace, may we not be consumed, but rather refined because in the fire we walk with God.
As I wrestled with grief, I found that unbelief was the basis of much turmoil in my affliction. Only when the Bible became my lens to view my afflictions and the very blood of Christ sustaining my soul did I count affliction as joy. It was then that I could make the sacrifice to praise the One who suffered and died so that I could have a High Priest, who was fully human in every way, bring me to glory and break the power of him who holds the power of death that is, the devil—and free me who all my life was held in slavery by my fear of death.
Hebrews 2:10-13 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it is fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says,
“I will declare your name to my
In the assembly I will sing your praises.”
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
There is hope and His name is Jesus.
In grief of all kinds we are battered by strong emotions both on the inside and the outside. We feel tossed about like a ship on water during a hurricane. We feel as if we may drown in sorrow. Advice comes from people who have not suffered, or by those who have been stunted in emotional maturity by abuse. They cannot relate to sadness, and only want to cheer up the one in grief. Often those around the one in affliction cannot handle strong emotion. Our lives have become too busy. The one in affliction needs to learn to rest, and most of us cannot not stop long enough to sit in grief. The ministry of presence is so important. Words will fail. When we sit in grief with another and allow her to lament, we give what Jesus gives to us. We give the one in affliction the right to give voice to her affliction, and we sit silently with the Lamb, who was silent for us.
We must focus our eyes on Jesus. Jesus entered into history because sin causes suffering. Jesus becomes an anchor for our soul, firm and secure, in life’s storms.
Hebrews5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.”
Jesus is not afraid of strong emotions. He cried drops of blood in Gethsemane. If Jesus is our model, then we should freely express our grief, our sadness. Look at Jesus on the cross as he faced ultimate darkness, forsaken by the Father! He cried out His question to God without restraint (Matt. 27:45-45).
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
In affliction, we feel forsaken. We are not greater than Jesus. We cry out the same words, WHY? God, why? In our anguish let us go back to the pure milk of the Word which is the foundation of repentance, of faith in God, and the resurrection of the dead.
–excerpt from the book I’m writing. I have hope because of Jesus.