It is comforting to know that the Christian does not need to repent of his or her tears; the Christian has no need to apologize for their feelings of loss. The Christian, whose bonds with others in Christ should be the strongest of all, should grieve even more deeply at the loss of someone else. Grief is not wrong, but Christian grief is uniquely different from “those who have no hope.”
The losses continue to stack up, don’t they?
There is, of course, the general sense of loss right now. Loss of routine, loss of opportunity, loss of mobility. That’s the “top of the funnel” loss that everyone feels. But it doesn’t stop there. It moves down the funnel to be ever more specific.
It’s the loss of vacations. Loss of income. Loss of a kid’s baseball season. Loss of personal interaction. And yet it goes even further down for some of us. The loss goes all the way down to actual, real names. Names of people. Loss brings sadness. Of course, the degree of sadness is varied depending on how deep into the funnel you are. But there is a measure of sadness for all.
Christians do not do well with sadness. It’s like we have come to believe at some point that sadness and joy cannot co-exist with one another. But they can. They can in the same way that fear and courage can co-exist; that longing and contentment can co-exist; that faith and unanswered questions can co-exist. Unfortunately, though, we as Christians have the tendency to rush past the sadness or the fear or the longing. We have a seeming inability to sit with these things – and even to know that these things are valuable.
But here is a season in which it is entirely right for us to be sad. To do otherwise is to deny the reality of what’s happening around us. This is not the time for us to plaster our hearts with platitudes, but instead to acknowledge the reality of the longing, sadness, and grief we feel.