Theology Thursday: Theology of Grief
You may have noticed that our "Theology Thursday" blog has not happened the past couple of weeks. There has been a lot going on in Haiti and with All Things New and our family took a vacation to the beach as well, but now we are back.
I chose the topic of "grief" because of what is going on in Haiti right now. No matter what anyone thought of the President and his policies in Haiti, he was a husband, a Father, and a son as well. Any time a horrific crime like this happens, grief is there, and especially when it happens to the leader of an entire nation and in the way that it happened to Jovenel.
There are 2 sides of grief that almost all of us have experienced at one time or another:
1. The person who is grieving.
The strange thing about grief is that no 2 people handle it the same way, no matter the level of the grief experienced. I remember when my Grandmother died and I was preparing to speak at her funeral. I wrote down my thoughts and I was ready to share about her life. I was sad, but I thought I was ready...I was not.
When I stood up to share about Granny, I could not even get a word out of my mouth before I fell to pieces and started crying in front of everyone in the church. I was not expecting it at all, and I was certainly not prepared for it. I knew I was sad, but the way that sadness and grief manifested itself was not what I expected.
If you are grieving right now, the good news is that Jesus grieved. He grieved the loss of a friend, He grieved when He knew He would be separated from His Father, and He wept. He comforts us with His presence, His joy, His peace, and His love.
You may be handling grief in ways that you never expected, but you will get through it. Jesus will comfort you and the grief that you feel will go away.
2. A friend/relative/acquaintance of a person who is grieving.
If you have ever been a part of a person's life who was grieving, you have probably felt useless. You have probably looked around trying to find something to do to help, just trying to find how you fit in the grieving process for the person that you love.
Do you know what many of us try to do? Many of us try to fix the grief. We like to speak truth to the person from GOD's Word that we think will surely help or we try to talk through it with the person who is grieving to let them know we understand. Do you also know that trying to fix grief almost never helps?
What people who are grieving need is your presence so that they know someone cares. No matter how uncomfortable or how useless you feel, your presence is needed. When people are hurting and grieving, Jesus is there. He allows them to yell, to cry, to get angry, or any other emotion they want and He never leaves them. He comforts by being there...That is how we should comfort as well.
When I was at Arlington Baptist Church, I used to make hospital visits with our Senior Adult Pastor, a man by the name of Richard Barber. I learned more about being there for people who are hurting and grieving in my very first trip to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville than I had for the previous 25 years of my life. When we were leaving the hospital together, I told him I had no idea what to say or do at these visits. Do you know what he told me...He said, "I don't either" and he had been doing it for 50 years! He was also the best at it that I have ever seen.
It is funny, people who come down to Haiti almost always react in 1 of 2 ways:
- Many want to fix Haiti.
- Others have their heart broken and they step back and say, "I am here."
We should be grieving for Haiti right now because she is grieving. Her people are hungry, they have lost, they are lost, and there is a sense of hopelessness there that I have not really experienced before in a collective way. As a group of people who love Haiti and love the kids of All Things New, our job is not to fix but to comfort. To pray, to love, and to be there for a people who are hurting and need our presence. Thank you for your continued prayers and support of All Things New and for Haiti...It means a lot!