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Grieving with God


By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

As we get closer to election day on November 8, 2022, I am developing a greater appreciation for the grief that God must be experiencing due to the fragmentation and squabbling among his children. It seems that nearly every politician up for reelection is claiming to be the expert chosen by the Almighty to lead God’s people. It’s especially alarming that a number of church groups also are laying claim to being God’s spokesperson in local and national politics. When I assess these various claims, I wonder how the world would look if all of these Christian factions were to unite behind a common cause and begin addressing the more devastating and catastrophic issues facing our nation and world. Unfortunately, instead of uniting us the issues of abortion, sexual identity, war, and environment continue to be divisive and troubling, especially in our religious community.

I do not claim to have the answers to these problems. However, I believe a good place to start is with God’s commandment that we love each other as he first loved us. If I truly and sincerely love someone I will listen to them, appreciate their ideas and concerns, and treat them with gentleness and kindness. I will not condemn them to hell. I will not reject or hate them. And I will not seek to do them harm. I may not believe as they believe, but I will love and care for them as Christ loves and cares for me. It for no other reason, I will love them simply because God commands it.

The challenge for us is to love others regardless of their religious or political affiliation, their sexual orientation, or their social standing. When these differences divide us, we are certain to fail. And we are failing. When our differences become so volatile that we attack and condemn each other, God grieves. When our love turns to hate and our conflicts turn to violence, God grieves. It is far past the time that we also grieve with God and seek forgiveness for the destruction our hatred has caused.

Last week I sat on the porch and watched the rain. And as I watched the rain, I thought how God uses rain to heal and renew the earth. I imagine that the rain is God’s crying and grieving the loss of our beautiful world because of fire and pollution. In our quest for riches and comfort, we devour the resources of this world without thinking of the great harm that were doing to our habitat. Even when the farms stop producing and the oceans become stagnant, we remain insensitive and apathetic toward destruction of our homes. God notices and God grieves.

The challenge for us is to begin actively grieving with God. Be attentive to the lies that are leading to the destruction of our faith and our land. Renew our commitment to follow Christ and love one another. Use Christ as a role model for our relationships. Learn to appreciate and care for our environment. Go to church. Be thankful. Be generous. In all things give thanks to our God and Creator. Continue to work toward a sensitivity and realization that God grieves the loss of relationships. And, in doing so, learn to actively grieve with God.

If you want to hear more about God’s love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, come visit us at the Fontana, Kansas United Methodist Church on November 6, 2022, at 10 a.m. You will find that we a Christ-centered church that values our neighbors and preaches the truth.

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