During a memorial service, I overheard one of the mourners say, “Why did you take her away, Lord?” If only I knew this was her last day… if only I knew.”
You can just read between the lines or finish her phrase.
Grief is a universal human emotion. Each of us will experience this in some way. The term “grief” is described in the English language as “deep sorrow, particularly that caused by the death of someone” who is very close to you. Many believers incorrectly believed that being in mourning does not embody the character of a Christ follower, as we should constantly be cheerful. However, I do not believe this is correct. Indeed, Jesus Christ cried when He learned of the death of His very close friend Lazarus. Many times we tend to blame people or God with regards to what happened in our circumstance. In fact, Mary even blamed Jesus by saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (Jn. 11:32)
We cannot completely control certain situations in our lives, so we must trust the Lord that He permitted them to occur for a reason. David can only hope for his son’s healing, but the latter eventually died. Surely, he was distraught at what had occurred. He can only express his hope in the Lord by stating, “But why should I fast now that he’s dead? Can I bring him back? Someday I’ll go to him, but he won’t come back to me.” (2 Sam. 12:23) David lamented his son’s loss. You may be in grief because someone dear to you recently died as a result of a deadly illness called as Covid-19. You are still grieving the loss of your child at such a young age. You are still in mourning because your parent’s weak body ultimately succumbed to organ failure and breathed its final breath.
In my years of serving the Lord in the ministry, I am always on the side of praying and giving comfort to those who lost their loved ones. But this time, the tables were turned because me and my family will now be receiving comfort and prayers. My mother died yesterday as a result of liver organ failure. Me and my siblings rationalized that something had gone wrong along the way. I believed that even if she was already 89, she could have lived to be 95. We’ve planned our own schedule for our mother. That’s what we assumed. We thought, we could play god. But we were wrong. While planning is beneficial, we must also be open to divine intervention. Keep in mind that the Lord has the ability to rock our world at any time without our consent. As James writes,
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” – James 2:13-15
As much as we want our loved ones to stay with us, surely the Lord has other plans. And His plans are always the best. His will is to be followed. As Isaiah said,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8
Many individuals are in grief today. Millions of individuals worldwide are bereaved as a result of their loved ones’ untimely demise. We may assert in our own minds that this is improper. We are aware of how difficult it is. We must, however, acknowledge it openly. Crying is appropriate. My wife and son were present while I shed tears in my room when my mother died. And they simply embraced me, soothing me at the same time. It is acceptable to grieve. The wiseman of the book of Ecclesiastes stated,
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, – Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
Long-term grieving leads to loneliness, which, if unchecked, will inevitably lead to depression, which, if not addressed, will eventually lead to hopelessness. This is why we need to be surrounded by people we care about, such as family, friends, and spiritual family. Once this occurs, our grief will gradually be replaced with joy as we realize that to live is Christ and to die is genuinely gain. I understand that we will not be able to see our deceased loved ones’ faces, hear their voices, or physically touch them for many years, but our time on Earth is far too short. Give it some time; we will not only see them one day, but we will also be in fellowship with the Lord whom we have worshiped, served, and exalted alongside them. Yes, there is hope, since Jesus Christ conquered death!
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:54-57