We are not “acquainted with grief” in the same way Jesus Christ was. When illness, injury, or affliction strikes us…we suck it up, endure, and just live through it, waiting for it to end. But Jesus faced sorrow head-on…knowing intimately what it was to suffer. He very plainly explained to His disciples in Luke 18:31-33 how He would be mocked, insulted, spit on, flogged, and killed…personally taking on and experiencing all the pent-up evil of this world. We taste suffering and sorrow…but Jesus is intimate with them.
I’ve seen this first hand with my elderly parents the past year. Almost weekly, a close friend, neighbor or acquaintance dies…usually from old age, but that still doesn’t lessen the blow of their passing. Even though death and dying is a part of life, we still mourn and experience sadness in our loss. The Psalmist here is lamenting to God that his friends, parents, or maybe children are gone…leaving him in a very dark place in his life. We all at sometime in our lives will feel just like this Psalmist…grappling with the loneliness and sorrow of losing loved ones. And that’s OK. Giving ourselves permission to grieve is a healthy and vital part of the grieving process. It’s OK also to feel lonely. That person we’ve known so well has left, and what remains is a void…a gapping hole in our heart of palatable sadness. It’s at that time that cherished memories help to bridge the chasm of grief. Sharing those memories with others is also a way of slowly moving out of that dark place into the light. For God knows exactly how you feel…He understands your pain…you may feel lonely, but with Him, you’ll never be alone.
Most of us have a hard time expressing our condolences to a friend that’s just lost a loved one. We stumble around, trying hard to say something that will bring comfort. But it’s only the Lord that can truly bring solace and peace during a time of anguish and mental pain. Probably one of the most uncaring things to say is, “I know how you feel.” No you don’t, and you never will. Grief and grieving is unique to everyone, and all of us will go through it differently. But with the Lord’s help, grief will be soothed… fears will be quieted… peace will still frantic thoughts…and over time, joy will return.
No matter what the world throws at you this coming year…remember that with the Lord you can overcome it. Whether it be troubles pressing down upon you from the outside, or anguish that comes from within…you can rise above them all with His help. Don’t try to make it on your own…God is there, ready to take those burdens. And in the end, you’ll rise victorious over all the pain and suffering.
The Lord understands the misery and sorrow you may feel today. He wants to take that pain from you…placing it in His all-powerful hands and off your shoulders. If burdens are weighing you down today…entrust yourself to God’s mercy and fall upon His grace.
Only the Lord may know the personal suffering and grief you’re going through today. And it’s perfectly OK to be completely honest with God and tell Him how you feel…even to the point of yelling at Him. For the Lord has very broad shoulders and will never take offense…for only He can truly understand.
The Psalmist realized that anguish and despair changes us…that bitter suffering and grief makes us numb, irrational, and at times irresponsible for word or deed…even when addressing God. The Psalmist freely admitted that he was far from the person he usually was. And we, like the Lord, must remember then that grief effects everyone and that the same grace and mercy He extends, we must also.