Why It Is Okay to Grieve

Because it is Biblical to grieve, in fact, if you read the book of Psalms, you will find many songs that tackle grief and pain in shocking ways. David’s Psalm 13, for example, opens with a series of questions that most modern day prosperity preachers will find faulty. It starts with nothing less than an accusation that God has forgotten the writer; and for the next four verses (out of a total of six verses), David expounded on the anguish of his soul.

We are told that we need to be careful with our confessions because what comes out of our mouths are self-fulfilling prophecies. We are told that death and life are in the power of the tongue. We are told that whatever we confess is bound to happen because our words have creative power (because we are children of God and God spoke the universe into existence). We are told that negative thinking leads to negative living. Each one of this is true. But that’s not the whole story.

The truth of the matter is that it is perfectly fine with God when we feel the need to have an emotional outburst. He is not disgusted with us when we tell Him we are disillusioned, frustrated, in pain, angry, and doubtful. God doesn’t look down on us when tell him words that are not very positive. Why? Because He understands our humanity more than we do. He knows how we are formed and He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14). He knows that our reactions to life’s challenges will not always be ideal.

That is why, more than acting like a policeman trying to catch us every time we have a negative outburst, God is actually more interested in where our hearts are inclined when we grieve. Does our grief lead us to rebel against God or to seek comfort in His presence? Do our cries of pain culminate in angry curses or in songs of trust? David ended Psalm 13 with a confession of faith. The problem that he articulated in the first four verses was obviously not resolved but his heart was changed after bringing his pain to God.

We do our Christian brothers and sisters a disservice when we tell them grief is a sign of a lack of faith. Nowhere in the Bible will you find a verse where God rebukes the hurting and the desperate. On the contrary, the LORD is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). If you are going through pain right now, go ahead and pour out your heart’s deepest cries to God. The LORD will not fault you for it. Just make sure that those cries dissolve into confessions of trust that no matter what you are going through, you will end up confessing this like David, “But as for me, I will trust in your unfailing love.”