Unable to Move On

Read: Lamentations 1:12-16

Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow. (v. 12)

When I was a new pastor, I learned much from my mistakes. One hard lesson was that time passes differently for the grieving. Several recently widowed church members expressed hurt and betrayal that their pastors and elders had neglected them. My immediate reaction was, “Wait, I visited . . . once.” Not having lost someone dear, I had to learn that grief doesn’t just get better, and grieving people don’t just “move on.” Significant loss changes one’s world forever. The bereaved person can feel like wreckage, stuck at the side of the road, ignored once the spectacle of the initial incident has passed.

After the exile, Israel’s sorrow was unique. In the ancient world, the conquest of one nation by another was commonplace. Conquered peoples were expected, eventually, to “get over it”: move on and adopt the culture of their conquerors. But Israel was God’s covenant people grieving the loss of their true love. There was no getting over him, no sorrow like theirs.

But God was, and is, faithful. He knows our sorrow because he joined us in it. Jesus—the “man of sorrows”—struggles with us. He went to the cross and suffered for us. He guarantees us God’s abiding presence and eternal love. Our worldly sorrows are very real. And yet, Paul promised, they will seem “light” and “momentary” when we reach the eternal glory of our waiting Savior (2 Cor. 4:17). If you are grieving, know that God knows your sorrow and will never move on from you.

As you pray, offer your sorrows to the God who is with you in them.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.

This entry is part 3 of 15 in the series Lamentations: When God is Silent