SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Isa 53:3) He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…
When it comes to a personal loss, one may wonder how a Christian is to grieve. On one side a Christian can be so rosy-eyed and believe you should never grieve. Your loved one is in heaven. You are to rejoice and be happy. On the other hand a person may sink in so much despair to unhealthy proportions and never recover to live a vital life. Is it okay for a Christian to grieve? Does it display a lack of faith? Does it negate a victorious life in Christ?
Jesus had a friend named Lazarus who passed away on the younger side. When Jesus arrived on the scene the atmosphere was fraught with various emotions. When He encountered Lazarus’ sister Martha He began talking of His resurrection and eternal life. When He met up with Lazarus’ other sister Mary He found her troubled of soul and weeping along with all the Jews around her. The Bible says “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled”. (John 11:33) The Greek word for groaned is tarasso and it means to be stirred or agitated. This disturbance was because of His conflict with the combined forces of sin, death, and Satan. It was all coming together in the face of death and it made him groan and troubled.
There will be times when the heaviness of living in a fallen world will hit us hard. It may be the loss of a loved one, a large reversal, a friend that strays from the faith, a health crisis, or any other serious problem or set of problems. You’ll feel the weight of it all and just groan in your spirit like Jesus. This does not characterize a loss of faith but a load of weight. And isn’t it usual to groan when you lift something heavy?
Sometimes we can go from one difficulty to another without a break. But we would be in good company because Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. At times like this we have to pray that mature prayer: “Lord, I pray not for lighter burdens, but a stronger back.” You grieve but it’s a GOOD GRIEF. You start to agree with Paul: (1 Thes 3:3) that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. And like David: (Psa 34:19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. You become aware that it’s okay to groan (Rom 8:23), just not to moan (Phil 2:14). That God’s grace will be sufficient (2 Cor 12:7-10). That no trial will be the end of us but the beginning of new strength in the Lord (1 Cor 10:13). That the weight of government is upon His shoulder (Isa 9:6) not ours. And that His Spirit consoles (Isa 61:3) and sorrow will not be forever (Rev 21:4). That’s what you call GOOD GRIEF!
I walked a mile with Pleasure, She chatted all the way; But left me none the wiser, For all she had to say. I walked a mile with Sorrow, And ne’er a word said she; But, oh! The things I learned from her, When sorrow walked with me. -Robert Browning Hamilton