Finding Hope in Grief
Finding Hope in Grief
Jesus knows grief, and he knows your sorrow.
16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?”
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:16-17 20-22 ESV)
Jesus understands that confusion may accompany grief. “What is this that he says to us?” (16:17)
The circumstances that cause us to grieve are often so overwhelming that we have difficulty thinking clearly. That is ok and completely normal.
The Bible gives us plenty of room to ask difficult questions and be transparent about our lack of understanding. Jesus wasn’t taken aback by the disciples’ confusion and sorrow, and I doubt that he is by ours either.
When grieving and you have clouded thoughts and confusion, let me encourage you to three truths:
- You can trust that God is sovereign.
- You can trust that God has a plan that ends in victory.
- You can trust that God’s promises are true.
Jesus moves towards us and meets us when we grieve.
“You will weep and lament. You will be sorrowful…” (John 16:20b). “So also you have sorrow now…” (John 16:22).
Jesus knew the disciples’ thoughts and listened to their words. He knew their trouble and confusion, and he met them there.
Jesus helped the disciples as they anticipated the loss and as they experienced grief by challenging them to be just as quick to anticipate the joy to come.
It is human nature to anticipate and experience grief, even before the loss. It is the Christian nature to anticipate the joy of the resurrection and eternal life with Jesus.
God doesn’t instruct us not to grieve; he teaches us not to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Grieving is an expression of loyalty, love, and longing. Jesus didn’t scold the disciples for their feelings; he understood the reason for their grief, and he understands the reason for your grief too.
Listen to the words of Jesus, “I know that you have sorrow now.” He knows your sorrow, the depth of your pain, and the reasons for it.
Jesus knows that our grief is temporary. “You have sorrow now….” Jesus assures us that he knows our present grieving and that our grief is temporary.
You may feel as if your sorrow will last forever, but it will not—Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Jesus illustrates this point by mentioning the anguish of childbirth. The mother’s sorrow turns to joy; she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world (John 16:21).
From his timeless perspective, Jesus lets us know that the suffering and sorrow that we experience now is temporary. As intense as it is, it is short-lived in light of eternity.
Jesus possesses and gives us joy.
It is not up to you to make yourself joyful. We find joy in Jesus. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11 ESV)
You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:22 ESV)
Jesus will come directly to us and exchange our grief for his glory and our hurt for his healing and joy.
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