“To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. In Christ, God himself wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it” (Lumen Fidei no. 57).
The story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12) is one of the most intriguing stories in the Bible. It is particularly important in grieving the loss of a child because David, a man after God’s own heart, suffers the death of his infant son (2 Samuel 12:15-25). Solomon was conceived and born in response to this devastation. Naming is a prophetic act, and Solomon’s name literally means “Peacemaker.” In naming their child Solomon, David and Bathsheba prophetically declared into their life the remedy for their sorrow. Where death brought hostility into their lives, their son Solomon was to bring peace. Solomon’s first act of peace and reconciliation came from his very existence rather than some particular action or deed. One child does not replace another, but new birth has the ability to bring peace, reconciliation, and healing.
Solomon, like his father David, is a type of Christ. This means that he had particular characteristics and attributes of the true Christ who possess all things in fulness. Where Solomon brought a relative peace, Jesus Christ brings absolute peace. He is the true peacemaker. Jesus made peace through the blood of his cross (Col 1:20), and he holds all things together in his person (Col 1:17). Jesus is the cornerstone, the point where two opposing walls in a house or structure meet. Without the cornerstone, the building would not have the structural integrity to withstand pressure and assault. Jesus joins together separate and irreconcilable things, uniting them into one whole that has strength and integrity to endure any trial.
In grief, the two irreconcilable things are death and life. The endless questions and confusion that accompany grief can be answered fully only in Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Through the cross and the Precious Blood of Jesus, sin and death are reconciled with love and life. The peace of the cross as it pertains to grief is this – through faith in the Merciful Heart of Jesus and through his Precious Body and Blood given for us, death, sorrow, grief, and pain are transfigured into hope, joy, glory, and life. Every person who is suffering grief, tragedy, or violence stands under the cross. The cross is the very means of salvation and restoration.
The Greek word used in Colossians 1:17 for “hold together” (synistēmi) translated in other contexts could also read “stand with” or “come into existence.” To be standing at the cross doesn’t just keep us from breaking down under the weight of our suffering, although it does sustain us. Standing under the cross in faith brings into existence custom solutions to our unique grief. God answers us specifically, not generically. This can explain why some advice given by people during grief, while well-meaning, is abrasive and not helpful. What is required is for the Holy Spirit to fashion and mold God’s revelation to custom fit each person in need. This custom-fit approach takes time and perseverance in prayer.
This is the great Mercy of God – that he did not abolish our nature because of sin and death, but in assuming our nature gave a new path forward. He held together two things which should not have been reconcilable, yet in the Divine Mystery of God’s Mercy it has been reconciled. The path through this Mystery can travel through the dark valley of suffering, pain, and loss. Jesus was not afraid of evil. Rather, he conquered evil on its on territory, and has made available this victory in his Precious Body and Blood.
This complete victory is made available to us in our trial of grief. Rather than resent and run from the cross itself, take heart that Jesus the Peacemaker is present to you in the most intimate way when you are near to the cross. It is an act of Faith to believe this. Pray to God that He will immerse you in His Holy Spirit so that you may have this Faith. If praying for yourself is too difficult, ask others within the Body of Christ to intercede on your behalf and pray over you. If you do not have anyone, please contact us below and we will intercede for you specific to your circumstances.
May God grant you peace through the blood of his cross according to your need in this moment, and may he continue to provide for you each step and each season of your grief!
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:15–20).