Hi everyone, Rob here.
There have been a lot of funerals lately. In our movement a number of heroes have died. These are people who have been foundational to the life and faith of a number of people I know. Cancer cut them down. They weren’t young but they still had a lot to give. And yet this has happened at the same time as we have been rejoicing in the fact that Christ is risen. The power of death is broken. It has lost its sting. It has lost its victory. Life wins thanks to Jesus. The heroes of the faith live on and we will see them again.
It is hard to live in the light of a coming kingdom. Life right now is the life we know. When loved ones suffer or die it causes grief. It upsets our world because they are part of our story, our rhythm of life and our emotional well-being. Grief is natural and necessary. The grief is not for those who have died. The grief is for us who are left behind, who miss them and have a gap in our hearts because of their passing.
What we do with our hearts in grief is so important. Too many start to hate God. Others blame themselves or harbour guilt for things left unsaid or undone. Others simply shut down the parts of their heart that still ache and become smaller somehow. His invitation for us all is to come to him and let him speak into our hearts, “I am the resurrection and the life.” His resurrection is for us as well as for those that have passed on. It is for now as well as for the time to come. Jesus wants to resurrect our hearts. He doesn’t want to see any part of our hearts die.
Coming alive to God through Christ is a necessary part of grieving. When people leave our lives we need God to come into that space and fill the gap. We literally need to find our life in Christ. If the grieving process doesn’t culminate with this experience then part of us is still dead. Sometimes coming alive can induce feelings of guilt in people. Should they be allowed to be happy after suffering such loss and pain? Should they laugh at the funeral? Should they be allowed to go on a date after being widowed? Should they sell the persons stuff?
The fact is we can’t control the grieving process nor the coming alive process. All we can do is offer ourselves to God every day, give him our heart and ask him to fill us with his life. We can then trust Christ to lead us through grief’s pain. He does bring healing and restoration, in his time. Our job is to trust him. Is it hard to trust God in the midst of pain? Of course. And he knows it. I remember when we lost a child to miscarriage and we could literally feel God’s gentleness enfolding us as we grieved. We lost some trust in the process though and it took us years to rebuild it. The process stays hard but there is a reward at the end of it. Your heart gets rebuilt, restored, made whole again!
If you’re in a season of grief or suffering of any kind can I encourage you to lay it all out before Jesus. Give him your heart. Let him bring comfort to you in your pain. He is good and kind. And always remember: there will be a reunion!