Friday, January 13, 2017

The Temptation of Grief

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

What does grief have to do with temptation? Is grief the result of human weakness or is it just part of what makes us human? We grieve when we lose someone or something dear, and the temptation is to deal with it on our own. The pain of loss and the resulting grief can be so unbearable that we may be tempted to find ways to medicate it. Few things have the power of raw and painful grief and only God can help us deal with it in a way that heals.

Jesus knew pain. He knew the pain of betrayal, misunderstanding and false accusation. And He knew the pain of physical abuse and torture. He also knew the pain of guilt because He took all of ours upon Himself. He could have escaped it. He could have ignored it. He could have destroyed the sources of His pain, but He chose to walk and live as we do. He chose to go through it and give it all over to His Father. He knows more than anyone the depth of human pain and suffering – He experienced ultimate loss. But He does not carry His pain as a cross, He overcame the pain and loss and the cross through the power of God’s mercy and grace.

You don’t have to wear your grief as a badge of honor or a defining attribute. Instead, you can exchange your grief for His joy – sadness for smiles, pain for peace, crying for laughter, sighing for singing. You can approach the holy and almighty One, not with head hung low but with confident expectation, with hopeful trust. He offers you mercy (he treats us better than we deserve); He gives you grace (He loads us up with special favors and gifts). Not just excusing you, but embracing and empowering you. 

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