My biggest fear in life is losing a child. I suppose that is every parent’s greatest fear, even those whose children are grown, like mine. I have friends who have endured such pain and – even decades later – they still grieve. I don’t know how they survive. Only, by the grace of God. I pray I am never forced to endure such loss.
Still, we all endure loss. Some more than others, but it is a universal experience. As someone who is middle aged, my experiences with death are probably quite common. I have lost all my grandparents, both parents, a handful of friends, a couple of childhood playmates, an old high school girlfriend, and a couple of coworkers. Still, I have always had this nagging feeling – as we all do – that death has a particular grudge against me, and that few others have witnessed so much death as I.
The Bible tells us that it is appointed unto man once to die; every one of us shall die. Job declared,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Take another look at that passage. You have probably heard it at funerals. You almost always here it on television depictions of funerals. “The Lord giveth… and the Lord taketh away.” The part that I find astonishing is that Job praises God. “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Can you praise God in the midst of such tragic loss? Can I? Can we look death in the eye and say, “I don’t understand God’s plan, but I will praise Him nonetheless?”
I could if it is my own death to which I refer; I have been ready to go for a while. What kind of faith does it take to say that when faced with the death of someone as close as a spouse, a son, or a daughter?
Church tradition tells that the Apostle Peter’s wife was led first to her death at the hands of Emperor Nero. As the guards led her away, Peter called to her, “Remember the Lord!” What faith. What wonderful faith!
In correspondence with a friend from Africa who has seen friends and family martyred, he has reminded me that we can be certain of a few things pertaining to death. Take comfort in them:
- Everyone will die, even those who persecute us.
- Death is not the end, look at the story of Lazarus. Our bodies will be restored at the Return of the Lord.
- The very day that we die, we will see Jesus is Paradise.
- We will see our loved ones in heaven. 2 Samuel 12:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Death is certain, but so is eternal life for those who have aloud Jesus to be Lord of their life. I have always known for certain that God took my mother because He loved her too much to allow her to suffer longer.
There is one more thing I know for certain. We must faithfully love those whom God has given us, because they are just on loan to us. He will want them back again someday.
Fear Not, for we shall see our loved ones again.