By His Grace: God is closer than you think during times of loss
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelations 21:4 ESV
For those who may not be aware, I am fondly known as the "obit lady" at The Courier and Daily Comet. Though my position at the newspapers covers a multitude of responsibilities besides obituaries, this is the one that give me the greatest joy. Why?
I get to love on you with the father's love, especially during times of bereavement. This love is not limited to just listening. This love covers what God instructs us to do.
"My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action."
"Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together."
When informed how long a person has to live, the inevitable grief process can appear unbearable. We have been given a gift from God, an opportunity to heal old wounds through forgiveness or create lasting memories with loved ones. This allows for closure when letting go through physical death, though it is understood you are never truly prepared in the heart to do so. No bereavements are exactly the same. When trusting in the lord through this process, we find strength in his love to endure. God is not absent during your time of bereavement.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
But what happens when a loved one suddenly dies without warning? You begin to wonder what comes next and how to respond.
Questions begin to surface over why your loved one had to leave so soon. You never had a chance to say "I love you" one last time. And how do I go on?
Ultimately you begin to question God: Why?
All of these are legitimate inquiries and honestly we may never know the answer. As told to me, today is your day of closure and peace; your loved ones are in the arms of Jesus.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."
You may ask where my closure is. There was no time to say goodbye. Allow me to share what the Holy Spirit taught me.
Celebrate her life upon the earth.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, 'He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.'"
Celebrate her new life in heaven.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
--Come to terms with letting go.
"And He said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
And I must implore you never to become angry and blame God for a loved one's passing. He is the giver of life.
"The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life."
It is alright to grieve to come to terms with the process. What is not good is to stay in the emotion of despair. You can never move forward if you remain parked on loss. A time must come in our hearts when we surrender once and for all our loved ones completely to the lord.
If counseling is needed, don't be ashamed to reach out to local grief support groups in our communities or churches. Information may be found in local community calendars at churches and hospitals, for example.
Look up to heaven and praise the lord for the time spent with loved ones who went on to glory. If you and I do all we are called to do here upon the earth, know we will see them again soon.
You may ask how I can make such a statement. Allow me to explain. The second coming of Christ is near, and those found in Christ will be caught up with him into paradise. To make sure you will be heaven bound to be with our lord and family for eternity, a relationship with the son of God must be established. There is no other way to the father but through the son. When you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Please repeat this prayer: "Lord Jesus, forgive my sins I committed against you. I believe Jesus died for my sins and has risen again. Please come into my life and heart and lead the way. I confess you as my lord and savior from this day forward. In Jesus' name, amen."
Welcome into the family of Christ.
Until next week, be blessed and continue to bless others along the way. Shalom.
Bible references: 1 John 3:18; Ephesians 4:2-3; Job 33:4 ESV; John 14:1-4; John 5:24; Philippians 3:20-21; II Corinthians 12:9. To obtain the full benefits of each verse, please read the five verses before and after each verse.
Contributing Writer Edith Nevis can be reached at 985-857-2200 or at email@example.com.