Ecclesiastes 3:7a – “a time to tear, and a time to sew;”
On our wedding day, we made a covenant. And within that covenant, we made promises. We promised to walk with our spouse for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Odds are we banked on better more than worse, health more than sickness and the idea of being parted by death was a distant concept.
Imagine: everything in your life, in your marriage, is going well. When suddenly — it’s not. Grief, sorrow and desperation enter out of nowhere. Life flips upside down, and what was once easy has become sinking sand. Perhaps you’ve been there. Maybe you are there now.
For us, it was six months. Six months of marriage before everything went up in smoke. Literally. My new husband returned home from work to a tower of smoke and firemen doing everything they could to put out the flames consuming the home we had begun to establish together. That night we found ourselves in a hotel room with only the clothes on our backs. Life as we knew it changed in an instant.
What do you do when you come face to face with grief? When a loved one passes away? When the job falls through? When the dreams you share fail to become reality? When the children you desire are not conceived? When you sit in church while your spouse remains at home? When addiction tightens its hold? When they fail to uphold their vows? When the diagnosis comes? When every conversation ends in a fight? When the income doesn’t cover the bills? When trust is broken? When hope feels out of reach? When you just can’t make “happy” happen? What do you do when you find yourself thinking, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way?”
There is a “time for every activity under the heavens,” including a time to tear and a time to sew. In the Jewish culture, when grief is near, mourners tear their garments. Reuben tears his robes when he discovers his baby brother Joseph has been sold as a slave (Genesis 37:29). Job tears his robe upon hearing of his children’s deaths (Job 1:18-20). David and all his men tear their clothes at the news of Saul’s and Johnathan’s deaths (2 Samuel 1:11-12). Barnabas and Paul tear their garments in response to the worship of false gods over the one true God (Acts 14:14-15). Tearing one’s clothes marks tragic situations. It is a public and powerful expression of grief. Scripture never shies away from tremendous grief and pain, and this means we don’t have to either. Genesis to Revelation is filled with gut-wrenching stories, cries of sorrow and anguish.
Friends, seasons will change. Grief will come. We will feel torn. When we do, may we boldly carry it to the throne of mercy, grace and healing.
Are you grieving? God says, “Come to me.”
Do your tears run over? “Let me count them.”
Are you desperate? “I am with you. I will strengthen and uphold you.”
Feeling crushed? “I will save you.”
As we bring our grief to Him, God sews. He takes our torn rags and creates something new. He heals our broken hearts. He mends our wounds. He is present in the “better,” and He draws close in the “worse.”
May we not grieve as those who have no hope, but as those whose hope is in the Lord.
- Who or what do you turn to when you find yourself thinking, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way?”
- What losses, burdens, grief, heartaches are you carrying alone? What do you need to do to bring them to God so that He can begin to sew?
Matthew 5:4, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 31:9-10, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 56:8, Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23, Psalm 142:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14