Tomorrow, the day this will go online, is the one year anniversary of one of my favorite people on earth passing away.
Honestly, I don’t do great when I think about Bob. My mind fills with all the things I wish he’d get to be a part of – my baby girl, named after his last name, as she grows up knowing who Jesus is. My mind fills with sadness at my loss, then just empties completely.
ILike the returning waves, then rushes some scripture- the first verse anyone memorizes- Jesus wept. In John 11, It was because someone he loved had died. He knew he was about to resurrect them. But you gotta think it- he knew he was going to resurrect his friend Lazurus. But when we cry out that this isn’t how its supposed to be, that death and sin with all their effects suck, Jesus cries with us. God laments these things too. Rather than an aloof God, or one who commands our constant joviality, I see a Jesus in scripture who feels- he mourns, rejoices, gets angry. He’s not a caricature, some distant holy man. He’s real, he’s fully sinless, and still has the full range of human emotions.
I have to think, that if Jesus didn’t consider it a sin or wrong to mourn, it’s got to be ok for me, for us. I think of my friend Tony passing away, and that we can’t do a normal funeral, how hard that is, and must be for those closer to him.
Then I think if my high school seniors losing their senior prom, late nights out with friends wrapping up high school. I’ve got a buddy who just graduated college, and suddenly found his long reserved graduation ceremony weekend free. Not what he’d thought.
So we’ve got students missing moments that their life till this point have missed out on. Loved ones without funerals, jobs lost, – and I think the answer can’t be putting on a Sunday face and pretending. It’s got to be ok to grieve. When my wife asks what I’m thinking of, and I’m thinking of my closest person in my life not counting her and how he’s gone, I don’t want to just lie and say “nothing” I don’t want to be pretending like it’s not tearing me up. So I’ll take after my savior, I know things will one day be better, but today it’s ok to just say things suck when they suck.
But here’s the important twist, Paul mentioned that we do not grieve as those without hope. So like my king, I know that one day, it’ll be better. Today can hurt, and I don’t need to pretend like it doesn’t hurt. BUT I know that one day the hurt will stop. I know that things won’t always be this way. That puts a hint of joy in my suffering, and a bit of hope in our current craziness. So if you’ve lost your job, man, that sucks…
If you lost your senior prom, man I’m sorry for those memories missed out on. If you missed baby showers to celebrate incoming new life, all because of Covid, man I’m sorry.
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Th 4:13–18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
But Jesus is still good, and no matter how far ahead we are talking, we know Jesus wins. We know that one day he’ll hold our hands and cradle our heads while we let him show us the why and how of any and all of our suffering, so as we do, let’s face the bad, but hold to and celebrate the joy ahead!