Saturday is the memorial service for another pastor’s wife from our Northern Plains Region, the third in the last three years.

Grief and loss are part of this fallen world for everyone. Followers of Jesus are not exempt. He told us to expect troubles in this world (John 16:33).

The Apostle Paul reminds us that in our grief we have hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Our hope is not that we will not grieve, but that our hope is greater than our grief. Our hope is in the One Who defeated our enemy and his tool of death. Death, for those in Christ, is now in the context of Jesus’ victory over it, evidenced by his resurrection. So we hold to Him, because He promises that all who place their trust in Him will experience that victory over death when He personally returns.

Yet grieving is still very much part of our experience. What is the source of our grief? When it comes to death, it is the stark fact that that person we love and care for is no longer available to share words and thoughts and life together. We are separated by death and the future of sharing this present life.

Our grief can be connected to different forms of loss, loss of a relationship, health, a dream or goal, a job. Grief can be mutli-faceted. Sometimes the loss is non-specific, a kind of general sense that things are not as “they should be.” This kind of grief is just as real, but harder to identify.

Take some time to ask yourself if you are grieving, or have been suppressing yourself from grieving, a loss. Ask a couple people who know you well. I’m suggesting that we may be living in a chronic state of grief and not even know it, or that we are in need of grieving, while trying to resist it.

Either extreme leads to a lack of experiencing the hope that Christ desires for us. I plan to share future articles on this topic. For now, please give yourself permission to ask yourself if you are grieving. Can you identify that loss? It may not be what first comes to mind.

O Holy Spirit of God, help us to discern Your prompting through Your Word experienced in our lives, that we may know ourselves and You better, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you find yourself grieving and need to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to reach out to a church near you (Find A Church). You don’t need to grieve alone.

-Randy Jaspers, Northern Plains Regional Minister