358/444 Healing from Infidelity: Grief, Yes you have Permission
My hope is that the past year has given you much to be grateful for. In conversations and counseling and encounters with God, I hope there has been much growth.
Following an affair there is much to grieve too. But isn't grief about a death? Certainly, death brings loss and grieving, but grieving and loss aren't limited to the death of a friend or loved one. We grieve more than just deaths.
Angela Thomas in her great book on the feminine soul, Do You Think I'm Beautiful said, "What if living means that suffering cannot be avoided?"
That's a foreign concept to a culture that believes we can figure a way to do life that leads to an upward spiral. The illusion is that life can always get better and better if we do it right. And of course we can figure out how to do it right. Wrong.
Life is more roller coaster than upward spiral. Ascents AND descents. Dealing with an affair = descent. And here we are 358 days in. Perhaps you are wondering if it is ok to grieve. Can I give you something? Many individuals in many families need it with regards to those downward plummets in life.
I give you permission to grieve your losses. What losses? Here are a few possibilities. Was there job loss? Did you have to move? Are you in a situation where you have to see the affair partner often or occasionally due to it being a small town or place of employment? Was there a pregnancy from the affair? Was there a loss of trust in the marriage? Did you lose a sense of specialness because there was sex outside of marriage?
That should get you started. Those are significant losses. And it is healthy to grieve those losses or whatever other losses there are for you in your situation.
I wish it wasn't so. But we are fallen people in a fallen world. Sin brings pain. Pain brings loss. Loss leads to grieving. And God is ok with it. Because God grieves.
I was reading this morning in 1st Samuel. Saul was the king God had chosen. He disobeyed God in a battle and after that battle by keeping some livestock and not killing everyone. God had ordered him otherwise. After God removes his blessing on Saul scripture tells us, "...God was sorry he ever made Saul king in the first place."
God was sorry. God grieved. Some folks think that God knows how every little detail will turn out. I don't think so given this text. He might be able to know, but it certainly doesn't appear like he saw this one coming. That brought loss to God.
Suffering and sorrow are a part of life. Few people know this more fully than Gerald Sittser who lost his mom, wife and daughter in the same car wreck. He had three other children to still raise.
Sittser's book, A Grace Disguised is a powerful read regardless of the reason for your loss. He has this to say about Jesus and suffering,
“God embraced human experience and lived with all the ambiguities and struggles that characterize life on earth. In the end he became a victim of injustice and hatred, suffered horribly on the cross, and died an ignominious death. The sovereign God came in Jesus to suffer with us and to suffer for us…His sovereignty did not protect him from loss.
God suffers with us. He knows that you'll suffer too. Give yourself permission to grieve your losses. Most of us will know God most intimately in the depth of our suffering and sorrow.