Colossians 3:3-“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
The death of a loved one leaves a hole in our hearts which can never be filled. Over time the gut-wrenching, soul-crushing pain subsides, but it is still there. A smell, a song, a location, a memory can all suddenly bring our loved one unexpectedly rushing back to us, and the sadness and loss overwhelm the heart. The hole aches and bleeds again.
True, we are not to be as those who have no hope, and give ourselves to despair, especially if our loved one was in Christ. There is that sure hope that we will see them again. Yet, it is often difficult in the beginning to move that knowledge from the head to the heart, almost impossible at times as you try to go to sleep in that empty bed in which she once nestled up against you. Almost impossible when you come home from work and she is no longer there to greet you, and tell you of her day. That takes time, much time. I have been told you never get over the death of a spouse, even if you remarry. I can believe that.
Overmuch grief, though, is not a good thing for the Christian. In my mind, it dishonors God, and my lost loved one, and forgets the promise of resurrection in Christ. In I Thessalonians 5:13, Paul tells the Thessalonians he doesn’t want them to remain ignorant and sorrowful about their loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord. He then goes on to talk about the resurrection and return of Christ as our ground of hope.
The turning point for me came this past Easter while I was reading the Epistle lesson, Colossians 3, for the morning worship. I was struck by the fact that although Mrs. Anglican is dead in the flesh, she is still very much alive, and her life is hid with God in Christ. She is safe, enveloped in his loving arms for eternity. All her physical pains are gone; she has the answers to all her questions which I was unable to provide. One day I will join her and all my saved loved ones, and we will all be hid together with God in Christ. With such great comfort, how could I continue to be sad when there is so much to rejoice about, both for her and for myself?
I wrote this for anyone who may be undergoing grief and loss with the prayer that it may bring some comfort and hope. The pain doesn’t last forever, and you’re not alone. Rather, it can be a time of drawing closer to the Lord, gaining understanding, and finding the blessing behind the grief.