Loving People in Process

Everyone can relate to process. Everything in life moves forward through process; sometimes smoothly and sometimes rough. The human experience, with its many mysteries, is exciting and joyful, yet also gets messy and painful. Every person is on their own journey of discovering their role in this life. Every person must discover truth for themselves, no one can know truth on behalf of another.

In recent months I have been wrestling with many aspects of my faith; the details of which I hope to share in the future.

Through this wrestling there are many painful realities within my heart that have been exposed; things that I have hidden away, not wanting to feel. This of course leaves no room for God to come into these areas. I found myself feeling sorrowful. As I processed my emotions, I recognized that I was not experiencing depression; which I would describe to be in a state of complete hopelessness. I was still hopeful for my future, though it looked clouded. What I felt was grief; a sorrow over the loss of the false image of myself that hid the pain and sorrow.

As I was experiencing this, I found it difficult to relate to many people in my life; many amazing friends.

So I spent time with the Lord trying to understand why this was.

I found myself drawing back from people, especially Christians, because I didn’t have a sense that many friends were ready to grieve with me, but simply wanted to fix my problems. We have a tendency to judge sorrow. Especially as christians, we are convinced that any negative emotion is bad. If someone is sad, something must be wrong that needs to be fixed. we are quick to provide solutions; perhaps more time in the word, time in worship, or perhaps more community is needed.

I sat with Jesus and realized…

“I am sad, and you (Jesus) simply sit with me in my sorrow. You remain present with me, experiencing everything I think and feel. You weep with those who weep. You put on no shame for feeling sad, and no pressure to “get it together”. Jesus, you are long suffering with me, willing to abide with me in grief however long I feel it.”

This was comfort to me and empowered me to rise above what I felt.

We are souls that dwell in bodies that are dying; walking in a broken world. In this life, death is still present. Death brings loss, which causes grief.

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4

As Christians, we do not escape death, rather we are raised from death to life. We are called to identify with Jesus, who is the “man of sorrows” and the “Lamb of God.” From His own mouth He calls us take up our cross, which is to die; that we may live. It is through Christ’s suffering that we are able to relate to God; It is God stepping into the human experience. This is how we, as followers of Christ, are able to relate to the world; through the cross. We don’t ascend above the human condition, rather we embrace it with hope in the resurrection.

It is very uncomfortable to sit with someone in their sorrow, yet it is amazing how powerful of an act of love it is. The hope that I have in God can be shared through identifying with someone in their grief.

Some further reflections as I have observed the chaos on social media…..

In a highly volatile climate, I see many people more concerned with their agenda and being right than they are with the condition of another’s heart. Many are being “triggered” by media, politics, and just society in general. I personally don’t believe either side in the political spectrum is being fully honest; yet one thing is clear to me, people are hurting. Irregardless if we think what triggered the pain is valid or not; the pain itself is real. As a Christian, our top priority must be the cross. We must be willing to be uncomfortable and sit with people in their sorrow; to actually listen with compassion and empathy. I know that is over simplistic and that it is far more complex than that; but I think this should be our heart posture.

Did any of this resonate with you? What are your thoughts on sorrow? How has God met you there? What have you experienced from friends that has been helpful during times of grief? Would love to hear from you. 

Also, feel free to comment below. 🙂

Zack Roberts — zackroberts.blog
Operations Director of Ember

4 thoughts on “Loving People in Process

  1. Such Truth, Zack. And I think you’re right, sitting with someone in their grief can be awkward, but I agree it’s powerful. I think because we are created in God’s image, we have an innate drive for restoration, and when we see someone in pain, in need of restoration, we feel that tension and attempt to shoulder the responsibility to bring the healing ourselves – and because we know we can’t, we stray away from encounters where we feel helpless. I think if we adjust our thinking though, and release ourselves from the assumed responsibility of “fixer” and settle in the role of “friend” it will be easier to come alongside people amidst their grief and simply love them through our commitment to them despite the season. That being said, it’s hard to know who needs this kind of friend when our community hides grief, for varying reason, so well. Love you Zack, and I would love to sit with you in this season!


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