A Time for Mourning
This year so far seems to be a year of many deaths. I know that we all face this eventually, losing loved ones, and even our own mortality, but I can’t help but feel like in the first four months I’ve witnessed so many of my friends go through this heartbreak; and it has me somewhat leery of what is yet to come with three quarters of the year to go.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and more aware of life than I used to be, but it just seems like more people I know are facing this grave consequence of sin.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naïve to think we shouldn’t or won’t have to accept this; nor do I necessarily think death is all bad. (Though the death of someone not saved by Jesus grieves me deeply.) What I mean is, what if all that we have in this world really is just a taste of what’s to come? (1 Corinthians 2:7-9) All the good and bad that we have on this earth can’t compare to all the Good we will have there (not to mention there will be no bad)! (Philippians 3:20-21, Revelation 21:4) Truth be told, we mourn the death of those we love, not for them, but for those of us they left behind. Assuming the person is a believer of Christ, then what have we to be upset about? (1 Thessalonians 4:13) They are reunited with our Savior; and are much better off than we are! (John 11:26, Romans 10:9)
I read a line in a book the other day (Deadline, Randy Alcord (which I’ve finally finished reading and highly recommend it!)) “I’ve kept going back to think about wonderful days with [him] in the past. Now I find myself thinking that perhaps the best days with him may still be in the future. [I dared] hope [we’d] one day explore heaven together…” This gives me such hope. Not only that I’ll get to see and spend time with my loved ones again, but that the time there will be better than it ever was here! (As if I needed another reason to look forward to heaven!)
Let’s look at Lazarus briefly. (John 11:1-44) When he was dying, his family sent for Jesus, but He didn’t come in time, and death didn’t wait to claim Lazarus. We often cry out to Jesus, begging Him to heal our loved ones; to make them better and right. When Jesus heard of Lazarus’s illness, He said: “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” (John 11:4) Any trial a believer faces can ultimately bring glory to God because He can bring good from any situation. (Romans 8:28) Lest we forget that God’s timing is perfect; and times when we think He’s not answering us fast enough or the way we want, doesn’t mean He isn’t going to respond in a better way. He will take care of us in the best way, as only He knows how. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 4:19) Martha showed great faith by responding to Jesus the way she did: “Yes, Lord, I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God...” (John 11:27) Are we as faithful during our pain? When Jesus saw Mary and others grieving, He got angry and then wept. (John 11:33-35) This shows us that God cares about and for us, and feels what we feel (only more immensely). He understands our feelings and empathizes with us. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead showing that even the dead hear Jesus (hope for unbelievers); He has the power over life and death.
Mourning our loved ones that are gone is understandable. But, don’t waste too much time on our grief. There is far greater joy awaiting them, and us, after death. That is the time we will finally live.