The Reality of Grief (excerpt)

Do you remember the last time you endured grief? Grief is a strong emotion and it is experienced at different levels and for different reasons. Most recently for me, I struggled with grief during my husband’s military deployment in 2010. The day he left is etched more in my emotional memory bank than the day he returned because I was grieving the unknown, along with his inevitable absence. I sobbed like a child as my Captain boarded that charter bus and turned for one last wave goodbye. Up to that point, I had maintained my composure in front of our children, but the grief became too much to bear and I broke down. Physically my body ached, my throat was tight, and tears flowed as my sinus cavities seemed to lose all control, leaking from every place imaginable. Memories of that day and my struggle with grief are still painful and fresh.

Jesus encounters grief while in the Garden of Gethsemane. As He prays, He cries out to God using the word, “Abba.” In our culture, this would be equivalent to the word, “Daddy.” In Mark 14:36, three things stand out in the text as Jesus personally encounters grief as never before. First, Jesus regards His Father in a tender and trusting way…as a child. His term of endearment paints a beautiful picture of His view of the mighty Creator of the universe. Secondly, Jesus demonstrates tremendous faith as He talks to God while in the Garden. He believes with every bit of strength within Him that His Father is all powerful and able to do anything. Lastly, Jesus displays complete trust and submission to God’s will, in spite of His circumstances-an impending and brutal death on a cross.

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