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After learning how and what to lament, we need to understand the why.

Matthew 5
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

This is the Jesus way. Grieving is not pain, it’s what you do with pain. So, to not mourn or lament is to miss the Jesus way.

There’s a story in the Gospels (John 11) of Jesus showing up after Lazarus died. The story ends with Jesus raising His dear friend from the dead. But there’s an important verse in the middle of the story. It’s the shortest verse in the bible.

John 11
35 Jesus wept.

Why did Jesus do this? Because He’s Jesus! He knew what He would do and how it would work out. He had all the power, and yet He wept. Perhaps it was for the pain of His friends, or maybe it was because even though Lazarus would be raised to life again, he would still die one day. 

That brings us to an uncomfortable truth that none of us like, and all of us try to avoid.    

No one gets out of life without experiencing loss.

We all go through loss. And the losses show up in different ways in our lives.

Big or Small Things

  • Disappointment – when things don’t turn out as we expect.
  • Rejection – when we get rejected or hurt by someone or something.
  • Pain of the World – when we turn on the news and see what we see.

Good Things

  • Graduations, moves, or milestone birthdays.

Time-Related Things

  • We must put away the previous seasons or mourn them to embrace the next season.
  • Putting the summer clothes away and getting the Fall attire out.
  • Moving the baby bottles and baby clothes into storage as our children grow.

Societal Things

  • Culture teaches that pain/loss is something bad, and we believe it.
  • Churches teach us that we must be doing something wrong if we have pain.
  • Society shows us that the feelings associated with pain are something we should avoid.
  • With busy schedules and distractions, we try to power up and push through – our culture recognizes this as strength and even applauds it.

So, we have this thing called loss that’s a reality in our lives. None of us really like it, and few know how to handle it well. Real lament requires us to face the limitations we can’t solve and that, sometimes, we can’t even understand.

It requires us to face the fact that we are not God and to trust that God is God. We even have to abide by this in something as potent and personal as our grief, loss, and sadness.

But when it comes to loss, we should also turn towards, embrace, and walk through it so that we can experience the fullness of life.    

Have you ever been doing a project around the house and needed to measure something? If we want to measure something, we get out the measuring tape, and to get an accurate measurement, we need 2 points.

The same is true in life.

There are 2 reflections that show us the full measure of life, the full measure of us – joy and sorrow. Of course, we all love joy, and we’d love it if that’s all there was in life. But to fully live, we need to find the other point. We need to face the sorrow, loss, and pain. And walk through it.

To illustrate what living between these 2 points looks like, we turn to the Psalms.

Psalm 30
1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you, His faithful people; praise His holy name.
5 For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, by my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

We see the cycle throughout. Sorrow and joy, joy and sorrow, over and over. All of our lives have both because getting the full measure of life is 2 points. 

To truly experience joy, you need to confront loss.  

Imagine carrying a large bucket full of water around your yard repeatedly. The fuller the bucket, the less our capacity to handle life. At some point, the bucket overflows or gets too heavy to carry. As a result, we experience physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional, and relationship impacts.

Many of us run around with full buckets, and sometimes we don’t even know it. So, how can we tell if this is us?

  • Our buckets are too full if small things catapult us off a cliff.
  • Suppose we feel like things are too heavy, unstable, fragile, or tiring, the same way it feels to carry around an overflowing bucket of water.

So, we know we need to grieve well to get past sorrow. It’s not easy, but it is doable if we follow some steps.   

  1. Accept that the cycle of sorrow and joy is a normal part of life. All of us experience this. It’s normal. We don’t have to outrun, ignore, fight, or get overwhelmed by it.
  2. Grieve intentionally and regularly as an act of worship. This isn’t something we should do just when the tank overflows. We must pause, create space, stop making excuses, and then walk toward the pain. Acknowledge and anchor. Take it to God, speak to God, lay it down before God, and trust that God is big enough to handle all your feelings.
  3. Be honest and cling to God’s word and His people. Finding a trusted person to help you process is necessary.
  4. Realize that this isn’t one and done. It’s a normal rhythm and a part of life that measures the dimension of our lives between joy and sorrow.

No one gets out of life without experiencing loss. It’s what we do with it, how you measure the dimension of it, the turning toward it, the draining the tank of it, that can make all the difference when it comes to being fully alive.

Joy and sorrow, sorrow and joy.

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