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For most of my short life, I have been inexperienced with grief. I had encountered sad points in my life, certainly, but never a deep, soul-shaking grief. Not too long into our marriage, though, my husband and I discovered we were unable to have children. The one thing I had dreamed of my entire life was now an impossibility. My sorrow over our inability to have children engulfed my life, affecting every facet of it: my marriage, my friendships, my relationship with God. And it was unrelenting. I would have several good days in a row, and think I was finally coming out of the gloom of depression. At last I was going to escape this dark cloud and bask happily in the sunshine for good.

But I have learned that grief, once introduced, is a steady companion. Some days it stands distant in the background; other days, it sits on me, oppressive and debilitating. But it is always there. It does not fade and disappear with the passage of time. I have watched friends and family continue to grieve years, decades even, after the loss of a loved one. And it wasn’t until we faced the death of our dream of having children that I learned the lingering pain of loss, a companion I expect for the remainder of my life.

A friend whose husband has passed once told me people are surprised that she still grieves his loss, even years later. I still feel the ache of my loss of motherhood at the most innocuous reminders of children, though we’ve been on this journey for years. I expect myself to “get over it” and “move on.” I feel embarrassed to still be so broken and weak over my loss, wishing I was stronger and more resilient. Don’t I have plenty to be thankful for and happy about?

Though the Lord has given us countless blessings, no amount of them cancels out loss. Even Jesus – the true God incarnate who had the power to raise from the dead and knew that He would do so – mourned the death of His friend Lazarus. Though Jesus knew resurrection was imminent, Lazarus’ death was not ignored or dismissed lightly. It was mourned by the very God of the universe Himself.

There are many types of loss we experience in this life: broken relationships, debilitating illness, death. Whatever form it may take, loss never becomes more palatable. We never grow accustomed to it or grow to be happy about it. The pain does not magically dissipate after X number of days/weeks/months. Because this is not the way life is supposed to be. To expect grief to diminish, to attempt to minimize pain, is to downplay the devastating effects of sin on this world. Because, ultimately, that is what we mourn – the deviation from the created order caused by sin. And we ache for all this heartbreak to be undone.

God Promises that One day It Will Be.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” -Rev 21:4

Every Sunday, we celebrate that death is not the end – we remember that Jesus was gloriously raised from the dead, defeated death, and secured resurrection for all those that believe in Him. One day our bodies, along with this world, will be renewed and made free from the curse of sin. Amid our grief, we have the assurance and comfort that one day all our sorrow will be undone.

Though we do not grieve as those without hope, still, we grieve. To make light of grief, expecting it to go away quickly and quietly, is a travesty. It belittles sin’s violent upheaval and undoing of the perfect world God made. The hope of resurrection God has given us is only seen for its great glory and magnificence when we recognize the depth of the devastation He has undone.

God does not call us to “get over” our grief; He calls us to bring our burdens and heartache to Him. Know that it is okay to grieve loss. God can heal our hearts in this life, and perhaps He will for some people. But if not, we can know with certainty that death has been defeated and will, one day, be vanquished forever. We can look with a hopeful eye towards that day when He will turn our mourning into dancing.

Caitlin has a Bachelor’s degree in English, and loves talking about books as much as reading them. She is married to Ben, a pastor in the PCA, and they live in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. She blogs at morningjoy.co about childlessness, storytelling, and living life in light of the Gospel.

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