Toward Biblical Grieving…

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I’m thankful for Cruciform Press.  They continue to provide solid, concise, gospel-centered, thought-provoking, Christ-exalting books month after month.  And, with the option of an eBook subscription at $3.99/mo., the blessing of benefiting from their volumes couldn’t come at a more reasonable price.

Last night, I decided to crack the virtual cover of this month’s release, Grieving, Hope and Solace: When a Loved One Dies in Christ, by Albert N. Martin.  I had no idea that I’d be so immensely impacted in such a short amount of time.

Looking over the table of contents, I decided to head straight for chapter 7 entitled, “What Jesus Has Gained”.  In this chapter, Martin begins to address a number of focal points for biblical grieving.  I have to admit, I have never looked at the death of a loved on in Christ from the perspective of what Christ gains when our loved ones depart from their bodies to be in his presence.  And, while navigating through the difficult time losing a loved one is never easy, Martin’s counsel certainly paves the way toward hope and healing.

Martin notes 3 specific ways in which Christ experiences gain in the midst of our loss; and in embracing these realities I believe we can more thoroughly bless the Lord in the midst of our seasons of grief.  In terms of what Christ gains, he writes:

  1. “In the death of one united to Christ, Jesus receives a precious, partial fulfillment of his own redemptive purpose and purchase.” (cf. Eph. 1:4; 5:27)
  2. “In the death of one united to Christ, Jesus gains the desire of his heart expressed in John 17:24.”
  3. “In the death of one united to Christ, Jesus receives a new dimension of joy.” (cf. Heb. 12:2)

Taking these realities together, Martin articulates that in the midst of loss we must consciously resolve to focus on the joy which Christ has gained.  His beautiful conclusion to the chapter reads:

“Whatever we lose in the death of dearly loved ones, remember this. We did not leave the privileges, the glories, and the joys of heaven itself in order to save our loved ones from eternal damnation. We did not undergo the agony of Gethsemane with its bloody sweat, nor did we endure the spit-drenched face, the buffeting, the scourge-shredded back, the torturous act of crucifixion, the darkened face of God the Father, or the pain of hell itself, vicariously endured. Jesus has much more claim on our loved ones than we do. Let us dare not entertain secret thoughts—manifestations of unmortified self-will—that God is unfair in taking them from us. Instead, when our loved one had become our loss, we must consciously and deliberately direct our thoughts to the joy that has become Jesus’ gain. Remember this clear and stirring declaration: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).”

Excerpts taken from: Albert N. Martin (2011). Grieving, Hope, and Solace (Kindle Locations 718-719, 738, 752, 769-773). Cruciform Press. Kindle Edition.

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