Grieving With Jesus: Stage #1

It May Surprise You

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There are some things about Jesus, grief and you that might take you by surprise; for example, when it comes to grief,  it may amaze you just how human the Son of God, Jesus, really was while on this earth; furthermore, it might just catch you a little off guard to understand how much like Jesus you are when you have experienced the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or have been abandoned, or have gone through any kind of really life altering and painful loss. And it might just give you some comfort to know how this Good Shepherd of the sheep understands your pain and wants to shepherd you through “the valley of the shadow…” 

The Man of Sorrows

One bit of ancient wisdom that can help you and me see this comes from the Prophet Isaiah who tells us in the NLT (New Living Translation,)  “He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” ( See Isaiah 53:3 NLT) This passage points us to the Messiah. It points us to God’s anointed and appointed one. It points us to the very Son of God, even Jesus. Jesus truly was despised, and he was indeed rejected or abandoned. He experienced sorrow up close and personal, and deepest grief, as we shall  see,  clearly was an acquaintance of his.

“Hey! You Shouldn’t Do That!”

Today, when people grieve, well meaning friends — even clergy — give you and me terrible advice regarding grief. These who should know better, for example, will get on your case when you experience Stage #1 of Grief.  You may know what I am talking about. The grief begins with what I have already called previously as “God’s Shock Absorber.”  Some call this stage the “Denial Stage.” Others call it “Shock.” Still others like myself call it “Shock/Denial.”  This stage is like a shock absorber because it may leave you feeling numb or dazed. You may even appear to others to be “strong” as they say. But you just don’t initially feel anything because the grief blow is absorbed by the shock of it all; however, that is not to say you don’t feel pain that is really overwhelming. When this pain does feel more than is bearable, many do this: They ask God “Why?”

It is when you or I ask God “Why” that the pontificators will preach, “You should never ask God Why?” Really? If this is true, then how can you “cast all your cares on him because he cares for you?” ( 1 Peter 5:7) How can you go to the “Wonderful Counselor” with your concerns? How can you experience Jesus as the “Great High Priest” who understands and go “boldly before the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy, and how can you find grace to help in time of need?”(Hebrews 4:15-16.) Some will even go so far to complicate your grief by saying “Asking God why is a sin!” This is simply NOT true.  Asking God “Why” is NOT a sin! Believing such a lie will make things worse for you emotionally.

How do you know Chap? I am so glad you asked: You see, Jesus, on the Cross,  was overwhelmed by the burden of carrying the sins of the world. It simply was too much. He had always had perfect communion with his loving Heavenly Father. He and his Father were “ONE” on a daily bases. Now, God the Father could NOT look on sin, and Jesus was covered with your sin and my sin. He was sin flooded that day. He also became separated from his Father. So, he cried out to God, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?  (Matthew 27:46) If there is anything I do know about Jesus it is that he NEVER sinned. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21) And Jesus, in his deepest grief, was shocked by all the trauma. So, he asked God “Why” God had abandoned him. He felt abandoned by God, and he wanted to know why he was abandoned. 

Grieving child of God follow the example of Jesus as you journey through grief. Reject the beliefs that are contrary to how the Son of God, Jesus, lived in the midst of grief.  Understand he became acquainted with deepest grief. Jesus experienced grief fully! He certainly understands you better than you can imagine, even in Stage #1 of grief. I know, if you go to a grief counselor, you will be allowed to share anything with them, if they are any good at all. Why not let the Wonderful Counselor help you with your grief? He is closer than your next breath during this holiday season. Let him help. He is waiting for you today.

Let God Bless You In Your Grief.

Chaplain Mac



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