The Odessa Record -

By Jon Hayashi
Pastor at Heritage Church 

Pastor's Corner


Last updated 8/11/2017 at 4:51pm

During some recent conversations, I didn’t realize how many people are still hurting deeply over the loss of Pastor Tim Hauge. I should have figured that out, knowing how deeply I’m still affected by it and struggling to deal with it, especially as we approach the first anniversary of his entrance into Heaven. But it’s not just Pastor Tim we’re grieving. There are plenty of others with whose deaths we still wrestle.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own pain that we forget that others are hurting. Or we shove our pain aside and don’t deal with it, which actually makes the pain worse.

In light of this, I find the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 helpful and challenging at the same time. If you read through Matthew 14, you’ll see that John the Baptist, who was a cousin of Jesus, was beheaded. Then you read this verse: Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself…(Matthew 14:13, NASB95)

The implication is pretty clear. Jesus, God in the flesh, needed some alone time to mourn the loss of His cousin. It’s not the only time we see the humanity of Jesus come forth. He did the same thing at Lazarus’ tomb. That’s the classic verse that’s quoted: “Jesus wept.” Clearly if Jesus mourned, there is absolutely nothing wrong with us mourning, but the challenge is, will we get crippled, lost, stuck or trapped in our mourning.

The story goes on to tell us: Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13–14, NASB95)

The people not knowing what Jesus Himself was dealing with followed Him. But the point is not the “insensitivity” of the people, but rather the response of Christ. When Jesus got out of the boat and saw the crowd gathered, it says he felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Jesus wasn’t crippled by His grief.

Jesus set aside his personal grief in order to minister to others. He was not going to let His grief get in the way of what God’s mission for Him was. On the flip side, some get so busy doing things that they never slow down enough to deal with their grief appropriately. In that scenario, people can get lost in their grief. They can’t figure out how to deal with their grief appropriately.

It is fascinating to see what Jesus did after He fed the 5,000. Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. (Matthew 14:22–23, NASB95)

Jesus set aside His personal needs to meet the needs of others, but He got back to taking care of His own need to grieve. He didn’t keep putting it off. Of course there were more people needing to hear the message of the Kingdom of God. Of course there were more people who needed to be healed. But, He was able to focus on his personal human needs for a moment.

Then, instead of getting stuck in grief, He moved on. Once He was done dealing with it, He got back to business. He walks out to the disciples in a storm and calms the sea, and then crosses over the Sea of Galilee and begins to heal the sick. Amazing. It’s moments like this that help to bring to light the passage in Hebrews:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15–16, NASB95)

The word for tempt here can also mean tried or tested. So, Jesus, who has been tried and tested in all things as we are, was able to respond in the correct way. As a result of the trial or temptation, Jesus understands our human frailties and weaknesses and sympathizes with us. The key, draw near to the throne of grace with confidence because Jesus is able to give us mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

So Jesus understands our need to grieve. Jesus understands our doubts, frustrations, concerns and anger. He walked through it and responded appropriately and we have recorded in Scripture how He did it. He wants to help us through our grief and give us mercy and grace, but we have to come to Him to do it.

Sometimes we feel trapped in our grief. We don’t know what to do, how to respond, or worse yet, how to get out of it. If you need to take a day off from work to spend some quiet time, talking or even yelling at God, do so. Tell Him how you’re really feeling. He’s big enough to handle it. He won’t strike you dead because of an emotionally honest outburst.

Read some of the Psalms of David; he confessed some disturbing feelings at times. His Psalms are raw and full of emotion, but he always came back to the faithfulness of God in the midst of the pain, even if he didn’t feel God’s presence or see in that moment any answers from God.

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1–2, NASB95)

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. (Psalm 22:1–2, NASB95)

We see in the Psalms a man who was able to verbalize his hurts, doubts, frustrations and anger while still holding on to his faith and in the end coming to God instead of pushing Him away. If we want to find healing, we have to come to God. We have to come to Jesus. Here’s what Jesus says:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NASB95)

So come to God and find healing. Don’t become crippled by your grief, let Him heal you so you can move on. We have to move on. Don’t get lost in your grief. Deal with it appropriately. Come and find rest for your soul. Sandy Libsack’s Grief Share classes are an amazingly awesome way to help us healthily process our grief. She should be starting classes up a little later this fall, so be on the lookout for them. Don’t get stuck in your grief. Give it to God. Let go of your grief. Finally, coming to God to find mercy, grace and healing allows us to not become trapped in our grief.

I’m praying for all of us as we go through this difficult season together. OCMA and Christ Lutheran are planning some events to help us all find healing and closure, so that we can move on to the good things that God has in store for His people. We’ll let everyone know as soon as we can what and when those events are.

Please pass this article on to anyone you think may need to hear it.


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