Theology and Grief

I try to theologize my way out of my grief.

I think that if I have the right theology, I won't grieve.  Am I the only one who does this?

The Bible does teach that our theology impacts our grief.  In 1 Thessalonians Paul points out that we don't grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  Death is, for us, not a blank void, not an unknown.

We do have a hope.  We know someone who has been to the grave and returned.  Jesus rose from the grave.  He paved the way for our resurrection.

And this partially blunts the edge of grief.  But it doesn't remove it.

In John 11, Jesus grieves.  He weeps at Lazarus' tomb.  Twice the passage talks about him being deeply moved and troubled.  And he had, we assume, right theology.

Earlier in the passage, verse 11 to be exact, Jesus uses the same sleep imagery used in 1 Thessalonians to talk about death.  He knows Lazarus won't rest forever in death.

Martha knows this too.  You can hear her trying to comfort herself with theology in verse 24: "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."  But the comfort of theology is just that, comfort.

We cannot anesthetize ourselves with theology.  Theology provides comfort, but doesn't free us from suffering.

Jesus still weeps.

When the time is right, we should too.

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