First: God teaches us it’s okay to cry. It is good to cry. Jesus cried over His beloved sheep in Jerusalem who’d rejected Him: Luke 19:41-44 “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Besides the eternal consequences of forsaking Him, the Lord also knew what would happen to those who’d turned Him away. Within a few short decades the Roman army would ravage and rape its way across Jerusalem.
Yes, it is okay to weep, not only for your own loss, but because you know their rejection of you will likely come back around and hurt them later in their life. St. Paul talks about that spiritual law in his letter to the church at Galatia: Galatians 5:15 “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”
“Sin,” it’s been presciently observed, “Sin will take you where you do not want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost more than you want to pay.”
Yes, it is good to weep, BUT never forget this: You don’t weep alone. Jesus catches every tear in His bottle. As the psalmist David wrote of God in Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
When David refers to tear bottles, he draws our attention to a common practice in both ancient and modern Middle Eastern and Egyptian societies. Mourners catch their tears in small vials and place them at gravesides or some other place of personal significance to illustrate their love for the one who is gone. When David said of God, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book”, David reminds himself, and he reminds us in 2018 America, that God very much knows of our pain. He very much empathizes with our sorrows.
So, weeping for our loss is the first example of guidance we find in Scripture that can help us cope with our grief. But what else can we do?
Continue to love them – even if we must love them from afar, just as God loves from afar when His beloved reject Him.
That will be the subject of part three of this essay.