When smiles fade
398,000 is a large number. But numbers are just that until we put a name to the statistic. The tragedy being even more tragic when we loved the person behind the name of the statistic.
398,000 is around the amount of people in America who have lost their lives to Covid. By this point in time we know someone who has died from this disease. It causes us to come face to face with the reality of death.
Face to face with how do we handle tragedy and mourn well. Even if we do not know someone that has died from Covid we all have had someone close to us taken.
There is something comforting about knowing a person is there for you. That you could if you wanted to stop by and enjoy their company. Maybe if your like me eat there food and make them laugh from the good stories you couldn’t wait to tell them.
But one day we all receive the phone call. whether it is your grandparents, parents, or some other dearly loved person close to you. This happened to me this past week.
As I was just opening my eyes to the sunlight breaking through the window my phone began to loudly jar me from my routine. It was the call that my grandmother had passed away.
You can probably remember where you were at and what you were doing when you received your phone call. The call that was followed by tears, mourning, and a long road of asking questions. Next we mourn for what could have been with tears that seem to keep coming.
We shed tears for all the times we could have called but didn’t.
We shed happy tears for all the good memories we had together.
We shed tears every time we pass there driveway knowing they are no longer there.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is where do we go from here? Is there a way to mourn well? Do hopeful people cry? The answer is yes there is hope for the future.
There is a way to mourn and move forward through the power of Jesus. If your heart is heavy or even if it isn’t read on.
I have found that grief will come because we do live in a fallen sinful world. So use this article as a roadmap to prepare for or respond to when you shed tears.
If jesus shed tears then so can you
In the words of the wise King Solomon there is a time for everything. This truth applies to weeping also. Evidence of this is the response Jesus has when his friend Lazarus died. In John 11:35 it simply says that Jesus wept.
so if the Son of God who lived a perfect life wept over the loss of His friend then we can be assured shedding tears is part of the grieving process. Some people weep a lot and some a little less.
But the important factor is that we do allow ourselves time to process the loss of a loved one. We cannot change what has happened and we cannot change what we didn’t do.
But we can allow ourselves some grace to weep over what no longer is. If we refuse to allow ourselves to mourn properly it can affect our relationship with God. This is because unshed tears can become unmovable barriers between us and God.
This is because our unshed tears of mourning turn our thankful hearts into bitter vessels of sorrow.So as trivial as it sounds it does a soul good to weep and let it out. But though Jesus did weep he did not simply stop there.
All shed tears are not equal
in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 the Apostle Paul shares some insightful news. Paul is addressing the issue of mourning well. He doesn’t command the early Church Christians not to mourn.
The apostle Paul wanted them to be informed about those who have moved on before them. His way forward was for them to mourn hopefully.
His message to them was that he did not want them to grieve as those who did not have hope. Like me you are probably saying at this point aren’t those two things impossible to do at the same time?
It is actually hopeful. The hope that Paul was referring to was the power of the resurrection. That when the casket closes that is not the end of the story.
All because of Jesus. That is what is missing from those who mourn without the hope of Christ. Think about it like this. It is one thing to become homeless and find yourself living underneath a bridge. That is a very sorrowful situation.
But it is another entirely different situation to pass under that bridge on your way to a five star beach resort. Two people and two different experiences with bridges. It is the same when we shed tears from loss.
if we do not hold onto the hope of a resurrected savior death is like becoming homeless and living underneath the bridge. The best moments have passed us by.
Whereas mourning with the hope of Christ is knowing that this is a moment that will pass and the best is yet to come. Is that not good news? So we can weep for our losses. But we can expectantly weep knowing that something better is coming.
The answer to our anguish
When do the tears stop? What answer can we find to extinguish our weeping? It is probably not what you think.
In moments of loss we as humans falsely believe our heartache and mourning will immediately stop when we understand why?
But in practice this is simply not true. We discover the cause of our loved ones death and yet we still are hurting.
We know it was from the heart attack, the cancer, or the car accident but the tears still come. So what can we do?
The answer can be found in Philippians 4:6-7. Paul simply says in verse seven that “And the peace of God , which transcends all understanding , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What that means is that we take our heartaches, burdens, and requests to God. God then does the heavy lifting and we trust that he is not going to let us down.
We trust that when our loved ones ask Him to save them He did it. We trust that what is going on right now looks nothing like heaven. But that what is coming is greater than our eyes could have ever imagined.
The greatest truth about Christianity is that Jesus brings hope in spite of our sorrowful circumstances. This peace can by found in times of mourning by trusting in the reality Christ on calvary took the sting out of death.
He defanged the serpent by paying the debt of all our sins so that we could rightfully call heaven our home if we choose.
So no matter what the hope of heaven is alive through Jesus Christ no matter how bleak the mirage of death appears. It is one thing to mourn the fact we are separated from our loved ones.
It is another and extra tortuous thing to mourn because you believe the best ended with their last breath.
so let us search for answers but realize that the only answer that will truly bring peace in the end is the good news of Jesus Christ.
The best shoulder to cry on
Sometimes we get this idea of God as a stoic , uncaring, and only wrathful personality. A God that is only at home in the balcony of the worlds finest church buildings.
But I am here to tell you that God is so much more personal than that. So as we mourn we have to break down this lie that God is removed from our pain.
The reality is that we often do not often comprehend how much God cares for us until we are forced to lean on Him in times of mourning.
We have to remember that it was God himself who gave up His only son to be tortured and killed on a cross for the salvation of the world.
So we can take comfort that God is a God who understands our heartbroken condition. So in the middle of the night when you have no one to talk to pour your heart out to Him. And He will dry your tears with the peace of His presence.