I went to a funeral yesterday. My husband was out of town so I went alone, burdened with grief for this family, these friends of ours who lost wife, mother, and grandmother. I was saddened, too, by my own small load of hurts and disappointments, nothing that can compare to the terrible loss of their loved one too young and too soon, but sadnesses just the same.
Tears filled my eyes, spilling over as I greeted the family, remembering the friend and neighbor my family has lost. She loved my boys; they loved her. We all loved her. She kept sodas in the fridge in the garage for them to help themselves; that is, until their worrywart of a mom expressed concern that the soda consumption was ruining their supper. A stick in the mud, that’s me. She bought me a pair of flip flops, wild and fluffy in a bold hot pink. Not exactly my style, but I wore them anyway. She baked a cake once and sent it over because she knew I was having the new preacher over for Sunday lunch and hospitality is not my strong suit. She suffered from a multitude of health problems for many years yet the last time I saw her, just a few weeks ago, she spoke with the same energy and vitality she always had. Frail of body, yes, but not of spirit.
She loved us. We loved her.
I remembered these things yesterday and I wept. I saw the crushing grief of the husband who loved her for 38 years and who loves her still and I wept. It was so sad. I am sad still.
But I received two things yesterday. One, a realization that my small sadnesses could be much, much heavier. It could be me standing before friends and family mourning the loss of husband or parent. Oh, to be granted perspective to see the things that truly matter, it is both a gift and a conviction.
I also realized afresh the reality of death and I hate it, death, our last and ultimate enemy. We will all die. It is a sure thing. We hate it, we fight it, we mourn it–all because we know, deep inside, that we were made to live forever. Our Creator set eternity in our hearts. The only hope, the only victory we have is in Christ, He who defeated death once and for all by His resurrection. He lives and He grants life eternal to those who repent and believe in Him. Thanks be to God, He has given us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Today I am grateful that because of the Lord’s mercy we do “not grieve as others who have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13) Instead, we can have the “full assurance of hope until the end” (Heb. 6:11) because of Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27)