I am so excited to present the second of four Letters Of Hope. Each Letter is a dose of encouragement from someone who has struggled before. Rachel Evans shares about her experience with learning that it is okay to grieve.
I have been where you are right now. Feeling hollow, empty, shaky, like the world is crashing down on you. I too have wondered what I’m supposed to do, how to handle this grief.
I thought grief was something I wasn’t supposed to feel. I knew I should rejoice because my loved one was in heaven, but the words couldn’t reach past my lips.
I’m going to ask you a question that might make you squirm, that might make you quickly say “yes” and walk away. But I need to ask this, and I want you to be 100% honest with yourself.
Do you know it’s okay to grieve?
Do you know that this sorrow is natural? Do you know that you need not be ashamed of this ache in your heart or the inability to view life the same? Do you know it’s okay not to smile if you don’t feel like it?
As Christians, we’re often tricked into the lie that it’s not okay to grieve. We’re told to rejoice that our loved ones are in heaven and to know that “healing comes with time”. So when we actually grieve, we feel alone. We feel like we’re sinning against God.
I’ve felt this way. When my grandpa passed away, I felt like I had to hide my grief. I even took it so far as to run from God, because I knew that He saw my grief, and I didn’t want Him to condemn me. I didn’t think God would understand.
I remember asking God, “Why can’t You numb my pain?” So when the pain did not go away, I shoved God away instead.
I spent two weeks feeling utterly hopeless and tired of grieving. I posted a prayer request on a writing forum, telling them how hopeless I felt and how I was running from God.
Through the prayers and encouragement of others, God showed me that I needed to run to Him. I needed to run to God because He was my healing, my hope, the One who understood my pain and loved me so much. He. Did. Not. Condemn. Me.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Most scholars believe that Jesus’ father died when He was young. Jesus also cried when His friend Lazarus died, and He mourned over Jerusalem.
If the God of the universe grieved, and indeed still grieves for us, then who are we to say it’s not okay to grieve?
Let Jesus hold you in His arms and give you hope. Hope that it won’t always be like this. Hope because He is healing your heart, even if you can’t see it. Hope because He loves you. Hope because He understands. Hope because He is with you.
Dearest friend, it’s okay to grieve.