Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Time to Mourn

Just came across this blog post on the Christianity Today website about mourning. The author writes beautifully about our tendency to overlook another person's pain and our preference to notice the pain but gloss over it with encouragement. The truth is, when we are in pain (emotional, physical, or other), having someone who will listen to us generally matters more than anything they might have to say. A listening ear can be a validation of what I'm feeling because we all know there are times when there are no words. Having a companion through the journey can be enough reassurance that we will make it through to the other side.

From "A Time to Mourn":
Too often in my life, I’ve expressed an overabundance of “Christian optimism”: I encourage others in hopes of counteracting their pain. While it’s great to exhort—kind words usually do help—we must consider: Is encouragement what my friend needs most right now? ... I’ve noticed that some friends who aren’t believers have a better grasp of mourning than I do. Perhaps they’re more willing to cry with others because they don’t have the option of asking God for comfort. I’m grateful I’ve got a loving Father to turn to in tough times, but sometimes, I exercise that option a bit too vigorously. I ask God to shelter me from all physical and emotional pain—essentially, to keep me perpetually happy. Additionally, I’ve suppressed and ignored my pain, telling myself, This, too, shall pass. God will eventually set everything right.
And God will. But God does allow suffering in this life because humans need to experience it. Pain reminds us there’s something wrong with the world: It’s broken due to sin. Pain calls us to action: We’re reminded that the only true hope is found in relationship with God.

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