Today I woke up to this message:
“She died at about 11:30 last night.”
Three hours later I had another one:
“My grandfather died, I’m in the airport right now, headed home… pray for me.”
What I hate even more is that these came from two of my closest friends in this world, and I ache for them.
The loss takes your breath away, and you think about the good times, you think about the bad times, you think about how it could be, should be different.
Friends reach out, families spill together… gathering in familiar places to ease the pain of loss and regroup for the new, uncharted phase of life without him or her.
Everyone seeks to honor the memory of this life, to find something to be thankful for in the midst of the harsh reality.
Seeking comfort, and answers.
However, at the end of the day as your heavy head hits the pillow, mulling through the memories and conversations of the day, the answers are a little out of reach.
No one has any pretty words.
The responses are typical:
“Praying for you.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“He/She is in a better place.”
“Please let me know if you need anything.”
It’s all true.
Those are all the most sincere responses, the deepest sympathies in the heart of your communities.
But there’s no pretty words for loss.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
However, there is truth.
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Glorious, glorious truth.
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces…”
What is unfading… what goes beyond just the pretty… is that this is not just an answer. These truths, are not simply a pat way of getting through the next days, weeks, and months.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
They are a resolved hope.
That this body, and this earth, it is not the end.
Legacy lives on, in children and grandchildren. In words, in works, and in love.
But even greater still, the soul lives on.
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
And one day, the reunion will be filled with the most beautiful of words…
“Welcome home, well done.”