SHOULD BELIEVERS GRIEVE? - P3
Should Believers Grieve? - P3
“Do you intend to reprove my words, When the words of one in despair belong to the wind?" (Job 6:26)
Job is speaking here to his “friends” — “friends” who have come to encourage and help him, but really rebuked and accused him for every emotional word he said. This is because some of the words Job said in his anguish were pretty uncomfortable for his friends to hear—things like, “God has wronged me” (Job 19:6b) and “The arrows of the Almighty are within me” (Job 6:4a).
As they criticized and reproofed Job, he explained to them that the “words of one in despair belong to the wind” (Job 6:26). Here, Job is referring to the words he’s been venting in his anguish—words of emotion. Job is saying that emotions are like the wind. Wind is nothing—it has no substance or form—it comes and it goes—yet, it can knock us down in an instant or carry us away—and it can also cause a whirlwind of destruction around us, harming others and tearing up our environment.
Grief and despair are like that, and we may say and do things in our extreme grief that shock Believers around us. Like a child in pain, we may even accuse our Heavenly Father. Deep down, we know these things are not true, but it is how we feel in our anguish as pain and death unnaturally enter our lives.
There is perhaps no greater example of this than Jeremiah. In his suffering, he lamented, “I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in secret places. He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate...He made the arrows of His quiver to enter into my inward parts...He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood. He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust...I have forgotten happiness. So I say, ‘My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord’” (Lam. 3:1-18).
God gave us these words to understand that grief is a natural response to the effects of sin—the unnatural state of pain and death in our fallen world AND to see that our anguish is often directed at Him. But He also wants us to see the conclusions after the emotions blow over: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord...For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men” (Lam. 3:21-33).
God wants us to see His hope exists, even if in the moments of despair and grief we cannot see it clearly. When the dust settles, He will bring it to our minds—and that hope is Christ.
May we bear one another’s emotional burdens in grief and sorrow, understanding that it is a natural response to the unnatural outcomes of the fallen nature—the pain, sin, death, and separation we experience here on earth until the time our God makes our human choice of sin and rebellion right through the return of Jesus Christ as King over all the earth. Amen!