Nine years ago my three sisters and I lost our mother, and, overnight, our lives were turned upside down. Her death was sudden and unexpected, and that first week we all swayed violently between deep grief and utter disbelief.
Tears flowed like rivers some days, while other days our hearts just ached, and we were too exhausted to express any outward emotion whatsoever. People came and went and offered condolences and we were grateful, but nobody or anything could anaesthetise the terrible ache of loss. Our mother was now dead and each of us was struggling to come to terms with that fact.
In the midst of planning the funeral, receiving guests and trying to manoeuvre my way through these early, grief filled days, God spoke to my heart. He reminded me of today’s scripture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14), and it brought solace in a way that nothing else had.
He was not telling me to dry my tears and put on a stoic face, because grief was an appropriate response under the circumstances. I had suffered a significant loss and it was okay to acknowledge that. The tears were actually His gift to me, because they helped me to express the loss and release the pain.
God did not say “Sue, do not grieve”, but rather He emphasised the words ‘as those who have no hope’. I did have hope, because our mother was a Christian, and one day I would be re-united with her in glory! What a wonderful reminder that was.
Over the coming weeks and months there were still times when grief would wash over me like a tidal wave, but the hope remained, anchoring me and re-focussing me to the wonderful re-union that would one day take place. ‘Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning’ (Psalms 30:5).
If you’ve recently suffered the loss of a loved one, I pray that you too will know the comfort of God, in the midst of your grieving. If your loved one was a Christian, the loss is only temporal and a wonderful re-union awaits. If you are unsure about the spiritual state of your loved one, release this burden to the Lord. It’s a burden too heavy for you to carry.
Remember that our God is both just and merciful, and only He knows what happens in the heart of a person in their last moments of life. He pursues us until our dying breath, and you can know with certainty that He pursued your loved one as well.
Allow yourself to lie back in the arms of your ‘Father of compassion and the God of all comfort’ this day. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I can hear Him beckoning you. Be assured that He has not left you alone to carry the burden of your grief.
Prayer: Loving, compassionate, merciful, Heavenly Father, I come to You. Meet me in my grief I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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