Have you recently lost someone you love?
They left too soon.
They suffered so badly.
They didn’t deserve what they went through.
Maybe you can still hear the minister’s words of comfort as you said your final goodbye on the day of the funeral. For some, it’s as recent as last week… while others have been playing out the same scene in their mind for many years.
I know it hurts.
I know you would give anything to have just one more day… one more chance to say “I love you.” My heart breaks for those in agony. If that is you today… please know that you are sincerely in my prayers. I also know that, as painful as it is, life must go on. People go home. The workweek comes. Photo albums return to the shelf.
And the pain remains. What are we supposed to do with it?
What do we do with how badly it hurts?
I’d like to offer a few things to think about as the healing process begins or continues:
1) Remember that God is in control
“The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.” Psalm 103:19
There is nothing you are feeling that God isn’t aware of. He brings people into the world at the perfect time and calls them home at the perfect time. There is never a second where He turns His back on the world He created.
2) Trust God without having to understand
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
You won’t have all the answers. The “why” it happened isn’t as important as what you do with the legacy they left behind. Don’t withdraw from God just because He hasn’t shown you the reason for your loss. Run to Him and allow Him to comfort you like the loving Father He is. You may not understand why but you can always trust the “Who” that is in control.
3) Know that God will use it.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28
I don’t know why it happened. But I know that something will happen because of it that is positive. You may not see it now… or want to even think about it… but God has a purpose for everything. Maybe losing your loved one will lead someone to Christ… maybe the legacy left behind will allow you to change a community… a paradigm… or your family. Don’t waste what you are feeling… allow God to work through you and use it in a powerful way to help others.
Your loved one’s life can continue on. You have to decide if they would rather have you grieve their loss forever or pass on what they valued to forever change the world.
4) Thank God for what you had
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
You may have heard the phrase “better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. It’s true. Your friend/family member/spouse was a gift that you got to cross paths with and walk beside for a season. They were a blessing that nobody can take away. You may be apart for now… but if you are both Christ-followers… that will not be a permanent condition. Be thankful to God for their presence in your life..however brief it was.
5) Let God heal your heart
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
God’s love is enough. He sees the tears. He feels your pain. He will never ever ever leave your side. Study His word… talk to Him in prayer… let Him hold you up when you don’t have the strength. He is strong enough to hear your anger and gracious enough to respond in love. Cry out to Him. Allow yourself to forgive and be forgiven. Keep serving, giving, and loving even when you don’t think you can. And above all…
Know that you are being prayed for. You aren’t alone or forgotten.
God is with you.