To grieve or to worship? What is a Christian to do?
With the recent passing of my spiritual father, Bob Phillips, I was suddenly inundated with a tremendous amount of grief in trying to process the immensity of the sudden loss I was now gripped with.
God not only mentions grieving in the Bible, He has a whole book about it called Lamentations. But with that you have other verses where David says, “The praise of the Lord will always be in my mouth. His praise will always be on my lips.” Does that mean even in suffering, and pain and loss?
What about those times when I have to break down and weep and just let that pain and sorrow out? In Philippians Paul tells us to, “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” So what are we to do?
Sometimes I think that as human beings, and as Christians, we feel like we have to choose one or the other; we have to either be happy or be sad. Well, at least that's the way I think it is for men. We don't usually mix those emotions together well. Women seem to have this interesting ability to cry out of joy and sadness all within the same few moments, but most of us men don't have that same ability.
However, in recognizing the truths that God brings forth in His Word, I can say that I don't have to choose between grieving and worshiping. I don't have to choose between grief and joy.
Grieving is a process that I go through while never letting go of my joy. When I embrace the joy, I don't let go of the reality that there is loss and there is pain and sorrow. There are real people who mean a lot to us, who we've had to let go of and say goodbye to. Those things can hurt. It's painful, but yet here we are, still waking up every morning with responsibilities to fulfill and relationships to tend with those who are still here.
Should we cry or should we praise? The answer is both.