Two funerals of personal friends in two months have reacquainted me with grief again. This morning, on the first anniversary of my dad’s passing, I’ve been thinking about the nature of grief. Grief is real, isn’t it?
Faith in Christ doesn’t change the reality that we grieve. After all, I grieve every time my daughters leave again for college and I know I won’t see them for any length of time until Thanksgiving break. How much more does it make sense that I would grieve when someone leaves for heaven? When my girls leave for college, I’m saying goodbye for a few months. When Dad went to be with Jesus, I was saying goodbye for likely 30-40 years—with no texting or Facebook messages in between.
For me, the big lesson about grief is that it makes sense that I experience it. It doesn’t mean I’m weak or faithless. It doesn’t mean I don’t trust Jesus or don’t believe in the blessed reality of heaven. Not being with those we love is simply hard—even if it’s for just a few months. Understanding this helps me go a bit easier on myself—I’ve learned to give myself a break.
But oh, how wonderful it is, in the midst of grief, to be reminded that physical death isn’t nearly as permanent or final as our spiritual enemy would have us believe—not at all! In missing Dad, I’ve entered the season of the “Long Wait.” But as hard as it is, I know that I know that I know that it is merely that—a long wait. I grieve—for real—but I grieve differently because of the gracious gift of heaven secured by the death and resurrection of Jesus. I grieve but I trust. I grieve but I believe. I grieve but I have hope. It’s my prayer that you will give yourself a break—don’t criticize yourself for your struggle with grief. It’s also my prayer that the Holy Spirit will speak of the hope of heaven into the deep place of your soul.
On the adventure with you,