Words of Hope: Acquainted with Grief

We are approaching the one-year anniversary of my Dad’s death. I can feel the sorrow rising in me. I am quick to tears; my bones feel heavy, and my sleep is more troubled. As I was meditating on this, a verse flashed in my mind that Dad and I memorized. It was from Isaiah 53; the verses point to Jesus. The line which keeps ringing through my mind is the phrase, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Acquainted means to personally know. This year has been an acquaintance with grief, a familiarity, a familiar understanding, a knowing. Jesus profoundly understood grief. I find this tremendously comforting that God is acquainted with grief. He understands sorrow. 

The theology of grief can be unsettling. It’s tempting to want a superhero savior who never hurts, bleeds, or cries. But that is not what God gave to us in Jesus. He gave us a Savior who bleeds, who was pierced, crushed, and deeply acquainted with grief. In my mediation, I asked, “What then should we do with this?” and these verses came to mind—Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort we ourselves received from God. 

Compassion means to be in passion with someone else. If someone has never known grief, it is difficult to be compassionate with someone who is grieving. Yet someone who has walked through grief, who is acquainted with grief, understands the need for comfort, can know not only the sorrow but the caring touch, the loving word, the healing hand. I am thankful Jesus is acquainted with grief.

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53: 3-5