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Good Grief

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  1 Thessalonians. 4:13 NASB

Photo courtesy of pixabay.Lun Chun-lin, 22, has a regular routine as she prepares for work.

According to a Taiwanese newspaper, after she brushes her eyelashes and fastens her flowing raven hair, she takes off for another day where she cries her heart out for someone else’s dead relatives.

Lun Chun-lin and five fellow employees are with the Filial Daughters’ Band—professional mourners hired by grieving families to wail and scream at funerals. In their culture, this is the proper way to demonstrate sorrow.

Although we might be uneasy about such dramatic responses at a funeral, doing this is a custom in some settings—and was in the ancient world. One Roman carving depicts the deceased lying on his bier with women around him—hair flowing loose while they claw at their bosoms to show their grief.

We also see an expression of grief in the biblical account of the resuscitation of Jairus’ daughter. Mark describes the Lord’s arrival at the dead child’s bedside: “When they came to the home … Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.” Jesus had to clear the room so He could concentrate on His task.

“Good grief” is a common expression, but can we really say grief—no matter how we express it—is good? After all, grieving over the loss of a loved one means sorrow, heartache, and anguish—and with no promise of relief. There is nothing good about it. And all the while, we crave comfort, reassurance, and hope.

Hope is what God promises. Paul said, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” And with that promise, we can call grief good.

In your times of grief, cling to God’s promises.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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Anne Adams

Anne Adams is a retired church staffer living in Athens, Texas, where she writes a historical column for the local newspaper. Her book Brittany, Child of Joy, tells about her mentally disabled daughter and was published in 1986 by Broadman. She has taught junior college history and has published in Christian and secular publications for forty years.