(A post from a Christian viewpoint)
There’s a group of sincere believers. Some of them might have actually seen Jesus after His resurrection. Others might have heard firsthand accounts. So they know, and are convinced that he is the Messiah who has conquered death. They choose to accept him, no matter the consequences. They are living in danger as harassment and persecution comes from two directions – the religious and civil authorities.
They watch as one of their number is stoned to death. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Stephen had stood bravely for his faith, proclaiming the coming of the “Just One” to his accusers.
At the moment of his death by stoning, “he only had eyes for God, whom he saw standing in all his glory with Jesus at his side.”
Lest there be any doubt about what he was experiencing, Stephen exclaimed: “Oh! I see heaven wide open and the Son of Man standing at God’s side!”
Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts chapter 7, MSG and NIV translations)
A few lines down and we are told:
“Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.” (Acts 8:2)
With all they knew about Jesus, with all they had seen and heard, surely these are people of faith. Stephen has “gone to be with the Lord”. Surely they should be at peace and accepting his death.
But still they mourn. Deeply.
Grief is a natural response to loss. No matter where our loved ones are now, they are not here. We grieve their absence.
We mourn. Deeply.
If you are a person of faith who is grieving, don’t be uncomfortable with your emotions. Deep grief is a sign of deep love. It is not a reflection on your faith, it isn’t symptomatic of doubts or any spiritual lack. It is simply a sign of love.
If these godly people, with their firsthand experiences of Jesus and miracles, their witnessing of Stephen’s death visions, could grieve, so can we, and please don’t ever feel otherwise.