Grieve . . . but with hope
Gregory C. Lyon
From time to time, we face realities that we simply can’t do anything about. God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. She didn’t have a choice. What could Mary do? Read Luke 1:26-38. Consider how Mary faced what she couldn’t do anything about.
Now turn to John 19:25-27. How did Mary have to submit her will once again? Do you think the words of Gabriel years before would have prepared her for this day? Why or why not? How might they have prepared her for this day?
Can you see her now standing at the foot of the cross with two other Marys, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene? Your heart breaks for her. None of this seems fair. An innocent man dying for what? And yet there Mary stood, feeling the prophetic words of Simeon, “A sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35).
Place yourself there watching Jesus’ mother approach the cross. Can you see her tears and her grief? Is there anything that you could say to relieve her grief? You might consider those questions knowing the full story of Jesus, but do you think that all the realities of who Jesus was and what he came to do would eliminate her grief as she helplessly watched her son suffer and die? I don’t think so. Mary was in the difficult position of seeing firsthand the business of her Father in heaven—the business that Jesus was all about. And it stung.
In my humble opinion, one of the most difficult things about experiencing loss is that we can’t do anything about it.
We all have experienced loss in one form or another. In my humble opinion, one of the most difficult things about experiencing loss is that we can’t do anything about it. We simply submit our will to our Father in heaven and trust him. And while we do so in faith, we still grieve. What that grief looks like depends on the person who’s grieving. We dare not put expectations on ourselves or others for what that grieving should look like or when we should be over it, as if we can turn the grief light switch off and on as we please.
Instead we grieve. And that’s okay. We grieve a broken world that is filled with sin and death. We grieve over a life lost, a life we held so dear. But we do not grieve like the rest who have no hope. We grieve in the blessed assurance of the resurrection that is ours through Christ Jesus.
Even after Mary discovered her son was alive, I can’t imagine that she would ever forget what that grief of Friday felt like. But now that grief all made sense. Jesus’ mission was not death; it was life! So, as we experience loss, we grieve, but we do so with faith’s hindsight.
As you think about Mary at the foot of the cross, consider a characteristic that Jesus displayed FOR YOU and complete this sentence:
This account shows me that Jesus was _____________ FOR ME.
While you may grieve, know that you can grieve in faith with the blessed hope of heaven because Jesus is a complete Savior for you.
This is the fourth article in a six-part series on applying biblical narratives to our lives.
If you are grieving, don’t be afraid to share what you’re feeling with someone. Don’t be afraid of how you are feeling. Tell a trusted friend who will offer you a calming, listening ear and the hope of the gospel through faith in Jesus Christ. You are not alone! We stand together in the hope of the resurrection.
Greg Lyon provides some additional questions and answers for the above Bible study.
Read Luke 1:26-38 and consider how Mary was placed in a situation in which she had to submit her will to God.
Mary could have grumbled and complained at this new reality, but she didn’t. Even if she did, it would not have changed her reality. Instead, against all reason, she humbly submitted herself to God’s will.
Read John 19:25-27. How did Mary have to submit her will once again?
There was nothing Mary could do to change Jesus’ situation. Jesus had to drink the cup that his Father had given him, and to a certain extent, Mary had to drink a cup too. She had to watch her son die, knowing that he was going about his Father’s business so that she might have a place in the Father’s house for all eternity.
How might the previous account have prepared her for this day?
Time and again, Mary was reminded that Jesus came for a purpose, and as she stood at his cross, that purpose was being realized. Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, and he was doing that right in front of her.
Do you think the previous account mentioned would have prepared her for this day? Why or why not?
Perhaps, but I think you must consider that even if losing someone “makes sense,” it doesn’t remove the sting. If you have a loved one who had been suffering from cancer for years and they are finally at rest with their Father in heaven, the sting of death is still there. She may have been prepared for that “sword that would pierce her own soul” but can anything really prepare you for the death of a loved one? This highlights the point that we can still grieve in faith with the blessed hope of heaven.
Author: Gregory C. Lyon
Volume 107, Number 04
Issue: April 2020