July 13, 2021
Grieving With Great Assurance
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"... Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (CSB)
Somehow, this month marks six years. It still feels like yesterday to me. It still feels surreal. Nothing about life really prepares you to lose someone you love.
I've seen enough news stories to know these things happen, but I never expected to lose my brother in a car accident, especially not on my wedding anniversary.
To say it out loud sounds like some awful plot twist in a dramatic movie, but I can't press "pause" on this one. It's amazing, though, how even after someone is gone we find a way to keep a part of them alive in us. Every now and then, I find myself jokingly asking him, Did you really have to pick that day? You never did let me have anything on my own.
It's true. We got presents on each other's birthdays because new skates were no fun if we couldn't do it together. It's memories like those that keep me smiling through the tough times of missing him.
If you've ever lost someone close to you, you know that feeling of deeply hurting while at the same time deeply appreciating the time you had together. Some days the memories are enough to carry the load, but some days they aren't.
It's on those days - the ones I don't talk about when I tell people I'm doing OK - that I have to stop and put things into perspective. This is an earthly pain, and though its heaviness is enough to stop me in my tracks, there is hope in Jesus.
First Corinthians 15:54-55 says, "... Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?" This verse reminds me that, while the pain of losing someone is so real, there is comfort in Christ. He took away the sting of death. This doesn't mean we aren't hurt by losing loved ones. Of course we are, and He's with us in our pain.
But the greatest part of it all is that death is only temporary for those in Christ. When Jesus chose to lay down His life for ours, He reconciled us to God, paving the way to eternity through Him. There will be a great reunion, unlike anything we've ever seen.
I look forward to seeing my brother again in heaven. I can imagine meeting my grandmother's mom, too. My grandmother has always talked about how wonderful her mom was. Can you just imagine how amazing it will be?!
Loss is sad. Tragedies are painful. Sometimes there are no words powerful enough for encouragement and no embrace strong enough for comfort. It's OK not to be OK for a while. It's OK to grieve and still feel like it was only yesterday. I know that feeling of wishing you'd said more while they were alive. These are normal feelings not to be dismissed.
I just hope that, even through the pain, you can rest in the love of Jesus, who laid it all down so we can now say, Death, where is your sting? Though there are many days I say it with a heavy heart, it is no less true that Jesus has victory over the grave.
There's something about losing someone, as heartbreaking as it is, that's a little bit empowering. I don't say that to minimize the pain. I just know that, since losing my brother, there's a greater part of me that wants others to know Christ and to have the assurance that's in Him.
If somehow the pain of our loss can propel us to tell the world about Christ, then we get to give Him the glory even through this. I'm reminded of the widow's offering in Mark 12:41-44. Others gave more, but she gave her all. While in a state of grief, it may feel like there's nothing left to give, but when we share the hope of Jesus, we give everything we have at that moment.
Thank You, God, for sending Your Son to defeat death. Thank You for giving me an eternal hope. Help me to spread Your truth and love everywhere I can. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Sometimes words are not enough. When someone you love is navigating hard seasons, it’s natural to want to try to fix it. But when the pain is present and the heartache hasn’t healed, it’s hard to know how best to love a hurting friend. We put together a new collection in our bookstore called "For a Hurting Friend" with resources to encourage her in the middle of whatever she is walking through. Click here to shop the collection.
If your life feels like too much right now, check out our Counseling Support page for encouragement and resources to give you the hope and help you need.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
God wants us to lean on Him through it all. What's one way you can remind yourself that the pain of loss is only for a season? We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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