The other day I went to work dressed for an afternoon funeral, with the exception of my black boots. I couldn't find them. When I arrived at work, I thought to check the trunk of my car for the boots, and there they were - dusty. I took them inside with me and went to the bathroom for a paper towel and water to clean them off. As I cleaned them I remembered where the dust was from, the cemetery. I was cleaning off the dust from the graveside funeral I attended last week in preparation for a graveside funeral I was to attend in the afternoon. I thought, good grief, that's a lot of funerals - a lot of death!
I have attended more funerals in 2020 than any other year of my life. Yes, Covid has taken a toll, but only a couple of the funerals I have attended have been deaths due to Covid. To me, it just seems deaths are on the rise for all sorts of reasons. Everyday I am shocked and saddened to see on Facebook that someone I love has lost a loved one. I try to sympathize and be there for them and send a card or flowers, but nothing I do, no amount of compassion, will bring their loved one back and that grieves me. I don’t want to suffer and I don’t want those I love to suffer either.
I know that, due to sin, we live in an imperfect world and we have imperfect bodies, but that is no consolation for the loss of a loved one. I know that God loves each and every one of His children; I know that He is sovereign; I know that His plans will prevail; I know that His will is perfect in every way, that He understands what we do not understand, and I know that with time, our wounds will be healed. But good grief, this is too many funerals!
I know that we grieve because we love. If we didn’t love the people with whom we experience life, we would not grieve them when they die. Without love there would be no grief. As much as I dislike grief I cannot begin to imagine life without love. It would be absolutely meaningless. We love those who raised us and disciplined us, those who treated us with kindness, those who sacrificed for our benefit, those with whom we have shared multiple, meaningful life experiences. We love those we have been charged to raise and grow and develop. We love those who have made us laugh and those who have helped us to put life into perspective. We love those who have prophesied over our lives and given us hope for the future. We love those who have shared in our work through friendship and camaraderie. We love those who have shared with us the love of Jesus Christ. We love those who have listened to us in our misery and have encouraged us to continue on through life.
We grieve because of the loss of relationship. We often don’t realize the impact a person has had on our life until they are gone and we are unable to feel what that person made us feel. We grieve because we love.
I don’t know if God has a collective message for us here in 2020, but as we approach the Christmas season, let’s all let our love be known. Tell those you love that you love them. We must heed the social-distancing protocols, but our phone lines and the postal service are still intact. Don’t grieve because of what you didn’t do or didn’t say. If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that we do not know the future.
Another possible collective message for us in 2020 is that death is final. We all have an unknown number of days on Earth, and each of those days is day in which we have the opportunity to repent. We are sinners from birth and we sin each day, but God loves us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross as the penalty for OUR sins, not His sins. Once we die, our soul either goes to hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, or to heaven to live out eternity with the Father. Each day we have the opportunity to realize this for ourselves, and the opportunity to share this truth with someone else - someone we love. Amen.
A few Scriptures for you to ponder this week:
~2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.