When most of us hear the phrase, “Good Grief,” our minds go back to the famous cartoonist Charles Schulz who introduced us to Charlie Brown. Every time things didn’t go the way hoped for, it was Charlie Brown’s famous response, “Good Grief!” Grief is a deep subject, far deeper than the trivial things that a cartoon figure struggled with. But everyone will have to deal with it sooner or later. The Scripture is filled with people who suffered. Some of the most well known in the Old Testament are Joseph, Job, Jeremiah and the prophets. But in the New Testament there is One who drank deep from the cup of grief. Isaiah described the coming Messiah in chapter 53:3, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” What a description of our Lord. We can see Him walking down the Via Dolorosa as the Hymn says, “With sorrows and grief weighed down.” The Lord carried the weight of the grief of the world upon Him. No wonder He fell beneath the load of His cross. But to Golgotha He did go. Step by step He went the way of the Crucified.
After going through a great loss you might be wondering what to do with all your grief and, to be sure, there’s nothing good about it, not even at the time you’re going through the initial stage of grief. But God has a plan and He will bring it to pass as you walk through the valley. First of all, grieving is part of a process that is normal. For example, a person who has suffered the loss of a child, or a spouse, or has just heard from the doctor that they will need to be put under hospice care, or there’s been a horrible accident — the list is endless. But as Job says in 5:7, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” There’s nowhere to go to hide from all the calamity that befalls everyone in this fallen world, that is, unless a person knows the Lord. Why do so many turn to the bottle, to drugs, any kind of opioid that can numb the pain and all the grief in life? Most don’t turn to the Lord. But when we do turn to the Lord we find a friend like no other. “The Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” has a heart of compassion. And as we read in Hebrews 4, “let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Yes, when the heartache is so intense, He really does understand. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” To quote Corrie ten Boom, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” Far too often the Christian community has such a low view of God that, as one preacher puts it, “We are quick to run to a couch instead of the cross.” This is not to put down biblical counseling, but the secular approach that knows not God! The Scripture is full of passages that call God’s people to trust Him in the midst of the trials of life. As Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Can God make something good out of all the grief? Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” What will it look like when God is done and fruit is evident? Something like this as stated in 2 Corinthians 1:4, “who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” We can eventually tell people what we read in James 5:11, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” The Hymn that says, “Let the Amen, sound from His people again” is so appropriate. Because from the depths of grief comes the doxology of worship. God is good, God is compassionate, God is merciful. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;”
Turn to Jesus, He cares more than you can think or imagine.