I’m sitting in our living room surrounded by open boxes, ripped up wrapping paper, and the smell of Christmas dinner being prepared in the kitchen. I really do love the excitement of Christmas and the joy that it brings. Today, though, I can’t seem to get my mind off of what I have lost.
My community and I have experienced so much loss this year. I have attended way too many funerals for people much too young to leave this earth. After I lost a friend in February, I really wrestled with the Lord about why such tragedy would take place. I quickly learned that asking “Why?” was the wrong question. Well, I have attended three other funerals since that one, and have another one coming up. While the stinging pain doesn’t lessen with the news of each loss, I hope to offer some encouragement in what I have learned through such a confusing season in my life.
First of all, I have learned that death is not natural. It never gets easier to hear that someone has passed away because we were not created to die. In the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God created Adam and Eve in perfect harmony. It wasn’t until they chose to sin that death even entered the equation.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
So while this may seem harsh, I feel like it should be said. When we lose loved ones, it seems to be a natural reaction to blame God. “He did this.” seems to be the first place our mind goes (at least that’s how it has been for me.) But from what I’ve learned, this is completely unfair to our Creator. It was because of our sin that death even exists. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and warned them of the consequences. When they chose to disobey, God (being a just God) followed through with irreversible punishment. Each time a loved one dies and leaves this earth, our Father’s heart breaks as He sees this world in the broken state that it is. He is still good.
Second, because we know that God is good, we can trust He will continue to be good to those left hurting. I’m beyond thankful that every one I’ve lost this year had a personal relationship with Jesus, so I can rest in knowing they are in the presence of our Creator. While that provides joy in the midst of heartache, it doesn’t take away the painfully obvious – there are loved ones left behind that have to live their day to day lives with a hole in their heart from the one they lost. Knowing Christ by no means takes away the pain of losing a friend, but it helps tremendously in the healing process. Because Jesus hurts with us, He is there to bind up our wounds.
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
We aren’t promised a life without hurt and loss, but we are promised a Savior to heal us. We don’t walk through these seasons alone.
Third, I know I will see these dear friends of mine again in Heaven. There will be days where it will seem unbearable, and tears inevitable, but this earth is not our home. Christ will return and call us home to eternity with Him. Upon first thinking of this, I am overjoyed that I have such a gracious Savior and that I will be reunited with the ones I believe went way too soon. My second thought, then, is the ones we lose that do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It creates in me a sense of urgency to spread the Gospel to everyone I know. Not just for fear of being eternally separated, but because Jesus is good, He is healer, and He is with us. He saves us from our dirty, rotten sin and gives us purpose in this chaotic, fallen world.
It seems unrealistic to say that we won’t have questions in times such as these. But I am here to tell you that no matter the questions, run to Jesus. We may not be given answers about why we lost a friend, but we will be wrapped in His embrace. We may not ever know the purpose in losing someone so dear, but we can find purpose in knowing Jesus – to live to bring His name glory. Through the good, and the bad. Praise His name because He is always good.