Grieving With Hope
"Is it wrong for a Christian to grieve?" Daisy Catchings asks in her book Under God’s Umbrella. "Are tears a contradiction of faith? Or is faith supposed to eradicate tears?"
Those are questions people often struggle with when someone close to them has died. After all, if the person was a believer and we know he or she is in heaven, is it "unspiritual" to shed tears?
Well, Abraham wept when Sarah died, David shed many tears when his son Absalom was buried, and even Jesus wept when Lazarus was in the tomb.
But to me the most remarkable incidence of grieving in the Bible occurred when Stephen was stoned to death for his open preaching of the Gospel. Since the resurrection of Jesus had taken place just weeks before, the early Christians were keenly aware that when a believer dies, he goes to be with Jesus. Stephen had even seen a vision of Jesus just before his death. Yet we read that "Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him" (Acts 8:2). Just because they knew they would one day be reunited with Stephen didn’t wipe out the reality that they were heartbroken he was no longer with them.
The apostle Paul told the early church that he did not want them [quote] "to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Note that he didn’t say, "Don’t grieve"; he said not to grieve the same way people grieve who have no hope of ever seeing their loved ones again.
Any psychologist can tell you of the dangers of future mental health problems for the person who suffers a great loss but does not grieve. The pent-up emotion will take its toll in one way or another.
Thank the Lord that He who gave us the ability to laugh also gave us tears as an outlet for our grief until the day when He wipes all tears from our eyes--forever.
 Daisy Catchings, Under God’s Umbrella (Palm Springs, CA: Umbrella Ministries, 1999), 105.