Wanda certainly faced a great deal of pain and loss in her life, losing her parents as a young girl, her brother in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and her love, Vision, in Avengers: Infinity War. The events of WandaVision show Wanda going through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Wanda creates her own reality to avoid facing her pain and she lashes out in anger at anyone who dares remind her of her past and the world outside of the Hex. Wanda attempts to bargain for S.W.O.R.D. to leave her alone, and once depression sinks in, she loses control of her powers. Eventually, with the help of others, Wanda realizes how her alternate reality is actually causing more harm than good and she accepts the loss of her love, Vision. WandaVision shows us firsthand how powerful grief is, as well as how much pain unprocessed grief can cause.
The importance of exploring loss and grief is especially timely, as we are still grappling with the challenging events that began in 2020, from the COVID pandemic to widespread civil unrest. We’ve lost loved ones, we’ve lost trust in institutions, and we’ve lost normalcy in our lives. How do we heal from our grief when our loss seems unending and we don’t know if things will ever return to normal? Here are three brief biblical thoughts on dealing with loss and grief.
1. We Need Community
Even though she was taken in by the Avengers, Wanda never felt like she fit in, always viewing herself as an outsider. Although she tended to isolate herself, the events of WandaVision show how much she wished to be part of a safe, loving community. Wanda’s grief causes her to use her magic to recreate Vision and to use mind-control on the residents of Westview to be her perfect neighbors. While this action caused great pain for many people, we see how much she needed other people to help her deal with her grief.
Likewise, the Bible repeatedly affirms the importance of being part of a loving and supportive Christian community. We must mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and bear each others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2). From the very beginning of creation, God said that it is not good for humans to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We need friends and family with whom we can grow in a community of love and support—offering comfort to those who grieve and receiving love when we are the ones mourning.
2. God Mourns with Us
Even if we do not have a loving community to support us in our times of need, we are never alone. God is always there to provide his strength and love. To prove his love, God came down to live among us. He mourned alongside us and he suffered and died for us. When Jesus’s friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept, even though he knew he would soon raise his friend from the dead. Jesus mourned not just for his friend, but for all of his creation that was broken. God mourns with us, but he is also our comfort and strength. God’s comfort may not always be a miraculous lifting of our grief, however; God may instead use others to convey his comfort to us. And as we receive God’s comfort, we are then strengthened to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Creation is broken, so hardships and suffering will always be present on this side of eternity. The pain of losing a loved one may dull over time, but it never fully heals. We may face ailments and hardships our entire lives, but as Christians, we must always remember the next thing…
3. We Have Hope
We have hope in Christ and in the life to come. Paul tells us that we do not grieve like the rest of the world, as those who have no hope. Since Jesus reversed death by his resurrection, we shall live again as well (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). When God’s people are joined with him in heaven, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). For those of us who have placed our faith in Christ, this is our secured hope. We will never face death or grief again.
While the events of WandaVision are fantastical, grief is a universal occurrence in our broken world. We are guaranteed to face loss or tragedy at some point in our lives and we must be prepared to face it. Even with her great powers, Wanda could not use magic to overcome the grief from losing the love of her life. She needed other people to break into the Hex to help her to accept the truth and to begin to heal. Likewise, when we are hurting, we need people to step into our grief to mourn alongside us and grant us comfort and support.
We do not grieve without hope, however, as Jesus’s resurrection secures our future resurrection. In the new Heaven and Earth there will be no more sorrow or pain. And although we will still face hardships and grief on this side of eternity, we would do well to remember Jesus’s final words to his disciples before his arrest and eventual crucifixion:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33
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