Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
The above hymn has been resonating in my mind for the past few weeks. This was one of the songs that was sung during the memorial service of my grandmother-in-law (“Ah Ma”) last month. Throughout the ten plus years of knowing her, I had experienced and seen her great love and care for all of us. Some of the things that she would do include cooking delicious food for us and making clothes for my children. As much as we grieve that she had left us physically, we were comforted that she had accepted the Lord and we would one day join and see her in heaven.
In John 16:16-24, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the grief that they were going to experience when they would see Him suffer and die. The disciples were puzzled when Jesus mentioned that in a little while, they would see Him no more and then after a little while they would see Him. There has been discussion of what Jesus meant by “a little while”? From the context of the passage, most would agree the first “little while” refers to Jesus’ death, whereas the second “little while” refers to His resurrection. For a little while, the disciples would experience sadness due to Jesus’ impending departure from Earth, but the grief that they would experience would soon turn into lasting joy at His resurrection (v 20 & 22).
From the above, we can take away the following:
(i) We are grieved by our fallen world
As believers in Christ, we are not insulated from grief when our loved ones die due to different reasons like sickness or old age as we live in this sinful world. The deeper we love the person, the more we suffer from the emotional pain when the person pass on. In John 11:35, just as Jesus stood in front of Lazarus’ tomb and wept, it is therefore normal for believers to grieve.
(ii) Jesus’ resurrection will turn our grief to joy
Our Christian faith rests upon the fundamental fact the Jesus was crucified, died and rose again after the third day. In 1 Peter 1:3-7, Peter mentioned the living hope we have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead will sustain us in the midst of suffering grief. As we endure the pain during this suffering, the Lord who is our Comforter and Encourager will turn our grief unto joy.
So the next time when you experience grief, will you look to Jesus in faith and prayer so that your grief will turn to joy?
Brother Leo Deng Yong