Grief does not pass in a day or a week. It is not a prescription that must be fulfilled or a schedule that can be checked.
Grief comes uniquely, I think, and yet, there is something we all share in grief: tears.
It seems fitting to me that tears are salt water. Because salt is a cleansing agent. And the wound that tears help heal is our heart. Tears are an emotional and physical release. They well up from deep within us. They are not a weakness – they are a sign of love and loss. They are a natural and necessary part of our lives: we cry tears when we are heartbroken. We also cry tears when we are overwhelmed with joy. And, as I have found in my own experience, we can cry tears with mixed emotions: gratitude at a life well lived, sorrow for the loss of a beautiful presence, and deep, abiding joy at victory over death.
God sees us in our grief. His is the heart that breaks alongside our own. He sees us when we weep alone – when we think no one else can see.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? ~ Psalm 56:8
But I think an important part of tears is being able to share them with others. God made a church because he knew we would need each other – and because God works through His people. In beautiful, unimaginable ways.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:15
Because sometimes there are words that help strengthen us. But sometimes, words are inadequate. They fall horribly short. And they can do nothing to mend the brokenness that we feel. So instead, we hold to each other and we weep. And somehow, we feel not just the presence of each other but the presence of God Himself.
A good and wise friend reminded me of this passage today:
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. ~ John 11:33-35
Jesus wept. Friends, he felt the devastation of loss. He felt grief. And he wept, even knowing he would raise Lazarus.
I think he sees us with the very same compassion today. So when you weep, know that God sees. And that He is the very one who can heal your heart of its pain.