Loving Through Loss

I find it comforting that Jesus wept. But, why would he weep? Didn’t he know he was about to raise his friend Lazarus from the dead? Why would he weep when he knows resurrection is coming? Why would he grieve to the point of sweating drops of blood in the garden before his crucifixion? Crucifixion was coming, yes. But so was resurrection. Here’s the reason, and it’s not poetic or profound, but it’s true. He wept because he was sad. He was hurt. He was in grief. And grief hurts. Even Jesus.

When my good friend lost their dad, I was seeking to make my condolences and offer my presence as a fellow sufferer. From experience, I know there is nothing/not much you can or should say in those situations. Most of the time nobody wants to have Job’s friends or to be Job’s friends amidst grief, although their presence is better than not trying. The best thing to do is to say, “I’m so sorry,” and offer your presence. My friend was struggling with the unexpected loss and didn’t know what to do with the pain. I said the only thing I could think of to him. “Let it hurt.”

Jesus wept because he was sad. His friend died. And death stings. Yes, it’s been defeated by Jesus, but the Revelation 21 consummation of his victory hasn’t been fully realized. So, Jesus wept for his friend because grief hurts. He sweat drops of blood not just because he was going to the cross, but also for the same reason he wept over Jerusalem. Because sin hurts. He was dying for real people’s sins. And the wages of sin is death. And many don’t even realize it. His death. For their life.

Here’s what I want you to consider. And to cling tightly to amidst your pain. Jesus wept, and so do you, not just because of the pain of loss, but because of something far greater. Something much longer lasting. Love. Love is the reason you can “let it hurt.”

The Disney+ Marvel Comics show WandaVision is unique in its depth of meaning for a superhero production. The show’s plot is centered around loss and the pain of grief. The main character created a whole new world (in a sense) to live in because she couldn’t handle the loss of her loved one and didn’t know how to deal with it. And it’s a world where he was still alive. I’m telling you this because of a profound line her loved one said. It gave me comfort amidst still grieving seven years after the loss of my twin sister. He said this: “What is grief but not love persevering?”

Grief is intense and long lasting because the love you have (not had) for that person is intense and true and deep and meaningful and real.

The Bible tells us that grief will last for the night. But, you know what will last forever? Love. So, for now, you can let it hurt.


If you would like to know more about grief and how to help someone through it, The Gospel Coalition recently posted “4 Ways to Love Someone Blindsided By Loss,” and it is one of the best articles I have read on the topic. I highly encourage you to read it.

“When the sorrows of this life threaten to overwhelm, his resurrection offers hope. But, perhaps even more powerfully, Jesus’s death reminds us of his intimate understanding and presence with us in suffering. Grieving people see their sorrows when they look at the cross.”

Leading Your Child Through Turbulent Times

I would like to offer some biblical and practical advice on how to parent well amidst pandemonium. Life is hard. No matter what age or stage of life you are in, there are trials and hardships. Though your child’s hardships look different than yours, and you might not even recognize theirs as actual hardships, they are real to your child. Their first heartbreak will wreck their world. The first real loss of a loved one will leave them questioning. Their first big disappointment will hurt them. But, all of these are teaching points that can train them to draw close to God throughout all the difficult times in their future. Also, there are turbulent times in our world that your child may not be aware of. For instance, the current polarization of our political climate and the state of moral decadence in our popular culture is affecting every aspect of life in a lot of ways, and children can be taught valuable lessons now that will affect how they view the world and impact the world when they are adults. As in most parenting, these conversations should come up “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) When those moments arise, which are more often than you realize, I pray you will do the following:

  • REMIND THEM WHO GOD IS.
    • He is the creator of us and all things. (Psalm 104)
  • REMIND THEM WHAT JESUS HAS DONE.
    • He died for our sins. [Sin is that bad.] (Romans 5:8)
    • He rose from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
      • The worst thing that can happen to you has been defeated by Jesus.
  • REMIND THEM THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS WITH THEM.
    • He is called the helper/advocate/counselor/comforter by Jesus. (John 14:16, paraclete)
    • He convicts you of sin. (listen to His still, small voice) (John 16:8)
    • He empowers you to stand firm. (Acts 1:8)
  • REMIND THEM THAT THEIR HARDSHIP WON’T LAST FOREVER.
    • You won’t always have this same struggle on this earth. (1 Peter 5:10)
  • REMIND THEM THAT GOD IS WORKING SOMETHING WITHIN THEM THROUGH THESE TURBULENT TIMES, IF ONLY THEY LET HIM. (Romans 5:3-5)

Music That Gives Me Hope

Music has a way of impacting the heart unlike any other medium. Just as majority of the Psalms are psalms of lament, which is a crying out to God, many classic and modern songs are birthed out of grief, uncertainty, doubt, fear, hurt, or a yearning and acknowledgment that things just aren’t right. These are often the songs that people relate to the most, because everyone hurts. And because everyone hurts, everyone needs hope.

Since losing my twin sister, I have hunted for and held on to songs that give hope amidst suffering. I would like to share some of them with you here. You can find all of these on my Spotify playlist, “Reason for Hope.” This is by no means an exhaustive list. I will divide them into the categories of 5 artists, 5 albums, and 15 songs. I will also provide a link to Spotify for each so you can check them out for yourself and be inspired to hope! Seriously, please don’t just read this. Take some time and listen to these. And hope in God.

Artists

Andrew Peterson – Just about any song and any album you listen to of Andrew Peterson’s will cause you to hope. He is one of the greatest lyricists and writes with an honest understanding of the brokenness of humanity and the hope of resurrection. Pick any album and any song. To get to know his older stuff, I would recommend the compilation album “After All These Years.”

Jason Gray – Jason Gray is an incredible songwriter. He has multiple whole albums that bring hope to the hurting. Some notable ones to check out are “Order, Disorder, Reorder,” “Where The Light Gets In,” “A Way To See In The Dark,” and “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue.”

Ellie Holcomb – “Red Sea Road” by Ellie Holcomb is at the top of my favorite hope-giving albums. Ellie is an incredible songwriter with an even better voice. She was formerly part of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, with her husband who is the lead, but has her own solo career now. I thank God that she does, or we would not have this incredibly hopeful album of hers. A recent single of hers worth listening to is “Constellations.”

Ross King – Ross King writes meaningful, biblical music, with many of his songs having the theme of hope amidst suffering. In my playlist of over 200 songs of hope amidst suffering, his songs always hit just right and at just the right time. A notable album of his for hope amidst suffering is “We Know How This Thing Ends.”

The Gray Havens – “She Waits” is one of my favorite albums of all time, and it is FULL of hope. The Gray Havens continually write deep, meaningful music and have an incredibly fresh sound. You will be better and more hope-filled by listening to their whole discography.

Albums

Red Sea Road – Ellie Holcomb

Almost every song on this album, from beginning to end will fill you with hope. Some noteworthy songs are “Red Sea Road,” “We’ve Got This Hope,” and “Man of Sorrows.”

She Waits – The Gray Havens

This album is simply incredible. It is written from the viewpoint, in a sense, of this broken world that is longing to be renewed. I know you feel that same longing. Some noteworthy songs are “See You Again,” “Gone Are The Days,” “Not Home Yet,” and “Forever.”

Order, Disorder, Reorder – Jason Gray

It is hard to pick a favorite hope amidst suffering album from Jason Gray because he has so many and they are all so good. “Order, Disorder, Reorder” is his most recent album and includes 18 songs. Some noteworthy songs are “Through,” “Remind Me You’re Here,” “Honesty,” “What The Hard Times Taught Me,” “Bring It All,” and “Tethered.”

The Shadow Can’t Have Me – Arthur Alligood

Arthur Alligood is a great songwriter and a Rabbit Room artist (an organization/ministry of Christian creatives started by Andrew Peterson). This album is so raw and real. I absolutely love it. I love it so much and it’s given me so much hope that we had Arthur as one of our musical acts at our first-ever Night of Hope event. Some noteworthy songs are “This is the Way,” “Right Where I Am,” “The Shadow Can’t Have Me,” and “I’m Coming up Out of This Valley.”

Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1 – Andrew Peterson

If you listen to anything by Andrew Peterson, you will be led on a journey to hope in God. Of his many albums, I picked this one because it is all about the resurrection of Jesus. I always say the Christian’s hope is in a person and an event—Jesus and His resurrection. That’s what this album beautifully leads us to—from the cross to the empty tomb and a living Savior. Some noteworthy songs are “His Heart Beats,” “Risen Indeed,” “Maybe Next Year,” and “Is He Worthy?”

Songs

I will not provide reasoning for the songs listed here. If you listen to them, and please do, you will understand why they’re here, and you will be filled with hope.

Remind Me You’re Here – Jason Gray

This Ain’t Over – Ross King

It’s Alright – Brandon Heath

All My Hope – Crowder, Tauren Wells

Light a Candle – Andy Gullahorn

Wake Up, Jesus – The Porter’s Gate, Liz Vice

The Shadow Can’t Have Me – Arthur Alligood

Good – Elias Drummer

Though You Slay Me – Shane & Shane

See You Again – The Gray Havens

Faith To Be Strong – Andrew Peterson

Red Sea Road – Ellie Holcomb

With the Brokenhearted – Lindsay McCaul, Brandon Heath

It Is Not Death to Die – Sovereign Grace Music

One Day (When We All Get To Heaven) – Matt Redman