Have you ever really thought about how your family is shrinking a little more each year? Since December I have lost an aunt (one of my mom’s sisters), another aunt (the wife of one of my mom’s brothers) and an uncle (one of my mom’s brothers) – IN THREE MONTHS!!! My mom is one of what was nine siblings. There are now three of them left.
I am an only child. So, I don’t exactly know the pain of losing a sibling. Both of my parents are still alive. So, I don’t know the pain of losing a parent. My husband is still hanging around. So I don’t know the pain of losing a spouse. I do, however, know the pain of losing a child through miscarriage. My other two children are still here – making my life full of joy every day (ok, MOST days). So, I don’t know the pain of losing a living child. I have lost all of my grandparents. I know that pain. I just can’t imagine the grief associated with the death of any of the people I just mentioned though.
Death is a natural part of life. There is a beginning and there is an earthly end. Those left behind carry the emotional break that comes with being left behind for the remainder of their time here whether that be one day or 80 years. While there is the pain of separation from the one we love for those of us who are Christians we have the promise and the hope of seeing our loved one again one day in Heaven. When I saw my uncle the last time Friday night I kissed him and told him to hug my baby Joshua who I did not get to meet.
Last week I watched a friend my age bury her perfectly healthy mountain bike riding 48 year old husband. He was one of the healthiest people I know. Yet Sunday night March 20th he had a massive heart attack and died. We are not promised tomorrow. We are not promised the next minute. We certainly have no idea when it will be our day to pass from this life to the next. What we are promised is that, if we are a Christian, when we breath our last breath of oxygen on this earth we will immediately see Jesus. II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that we can be confident that when we are absent from our body we will be present with the Lord.
One of my favorite verses of the Bible is found in I Corinthians 15. Verse 54 says that death is destroyed and victory over it is complete. I love verse 55 – “Oh death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Death is a victory for us Christians. It’s painful for us left behind. But it is a time of victory for the Christian because they wake up in glorious Heaven with the Savior. God makes reference in Revelation 7:9 to a “great multitude” standing before the throne. They are the Christians who have died and gone on before us. I will see my loved ones and friends in that crowd. You know how it is when you get separated from your friend or family member in a big crowd of people. You look around anxiously to lay eyes on them and know that they were there but just out of your sight? I think that’s kind of how it is now for those of us who have lost loved ones to death. We are separated from them but we know where they are. They are out of our eye sight for now but one day we will see them again. They are standing, clothed in white, before the throne of God worshiping him. One day I will lay my eyes on them again and we will be reunited.
Death is only temporary. It merely ushers us into a different “life”. It becomes our eternal destination. That gives me great hope that one day I will see my loved one again in Heaven if they are a Christian. Not only will I see Jesus with my eyes but I will once again lay eyes on those who have gone before me. What an amazing hope and promise!