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Grief as a Gift?

By Dave Lescalleet

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:16-18

 

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently who spoke about a difficulty she was going through, not unlike COVID-19.  She talked about coming to the realization that her grief, which was painfully real, was actually a gift.  She was learning through her faith in God about the ‘gift of grief’ as she identified it.

The Gift of Grief.  What an amazing phrase.  I would be the first to say that no one (including myself) desires to experience grief or loss of any kind.  But to arrive at a place in life, to be able to say, like my friend, that grief can be a gift?  That is a special place indeed.

St. Paul arrived there.  When he wrote his letter to the Church in Rome, he wrote that when we do suffer, we suffer with Christ.  We are therefore glorified together!  Imagine being glorified with the one known as The Son of God!  Could it be true?  Is what Paul wrote correct?  If it is, than yes, our grief would be a gift!

But if you have trouble swallowing that verse, look at what Paul wrote next:  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.   That the sufferings (even the worst of sufferings!) are nothing compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us?  Really Paul?  Does that mean God can make us more beautiful, not in spite of our sufferings and grief, but because of them?

If what Paul is saying is true (and I believe it is!) than yes, oh my yes, we can and should look at grief as a gift from God.  What an amazing blessing to know that Jesus, the one who was recognized by His sufferings in His Hands, His feet and side, wants to know us!

Dr. Dave Lescalleet

Dr. Dave Lescalleet serves as the Director of Chaplaincy for PruittHealth. He is a graduate of Knox Theological Seminary.

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