John 16:33 states, ” I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
This verse speaks truth that echos right into the heart of grief. Grief takes on many forms and can be spotted wearing many different masks around us. At the heart of grief resides an ache that what happened, what we experienced, should not have happened. Grief introduces an imbalance into our world as we know it.
The world is a fallen place. Our humanity and fallen nature grieves the Lord. He had an original plan and design for our lives. We were created to enjoy and be enjoyed by a perfect relationship with God the father, Son, and holy spirit. In our sin we fall short of that glory; that perfect relationship. We are left with grief. We are left with a longing for that right relationship once again. When we experience grief either directly or indirectly, we become painfully aware of something that is not supposed to be.
When I was sixteen-years-old my whole world was changed in one night. My family as I knew it had been changed. My life as I knew it was disrupted and forever changed by grief.
Just before my junior year started in high school, my father decided that he was done with our family. My father had been having an affair with another woman for quite some time and he was done living his life with us. At 11:30pm one night, I watched my father leave and my worlds around me fall. Grief had taken me like a hurricane and all that was left was confusion, immense pain, and a desire for what was. As I sat there on my broken pile of life, I looked around at the overwhelming rubble that was now me and asked, “where do I start?”
Wounds of that night, and the proceeding days, have left gaps in the foundation of me that I am still dealing with today. That night was over 14 years ago, yet I can still feel the sting of grief. Grief will always find it’s way to the surface. It will take me a life time to process all the ways grief manifests itself through me. I feel sadness in what was lost. I go through days of anger as I grieve what seasons of life my father missed in me. I also grieve for the broken relationship that didn’t have to be. Each day I work through the ways grief has left me to question trust and to fear in ways that are not in my original design to fear. This is my process of life. I grieve just that sentence. My experience of grief came by the way of another’s choice that has greatly affected me. I am left to work through the pain.
Experiencing pain is never the plan. Watching others experience pain and grief is never what anyone would ask for. Grief has no announcement. Grief has no starting or end point. Grief leaves her mark on all in some way.
I look at that verse again and see the hope and comfort of one who grieves deeper than me, for me. Jesus came to this earth to remind us that in this world we will experience grief, but to be hope filled that he has “deprived [the world] of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.”