What do you do when you’ve lost a close loved one?
The pain, grief and sorrow can be unbearable at times. The questions … Is God even listening? Has He forgotten me? Why did He allow this to happen?
The feelings of despair and loneliness lead to statements like… “I’m alone” “No one understands”
Some people feel responsible in some form for the loss “it’s my fault, if I would have been there or done….”
I bring you good news in the face of death there is life. Jesus will restore and renew as he brings healing to your heart. You can have joy again. You can have peace. You can stop feeling lonely.
To be honest I didn’t know if I was ready to talk about this subject. This particular post has sat in “drafts” for a long time.
All I can do is tell you how I made it through…with the help of the LORD I made it.
I was really unprepared when my brother called to say Dad was dead. In his home, he fell asleep and never awoke. On this side of Heaven anyway.
As the pastor of a church I had seen Dad preach with many ailments and nothing ever stopped him. Apparently, that Sunday morning he was not feeling well.
I can’t describe the emotions. I couldn’t seem to “feel” them all at once even though they seem to flood me until it was almost unbearable. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking at the time. It seemed like a dream. I was in total shock and disbelief.
I knew my brother very well. I knew he was not joking. However, he just had to be…HAD to be. Because my Dad was unstoppable and so young!
I could recount the details of the days that followed. I could tell you the prayers, the faith, the friends, support and an amazing funeral that my brother preached himself. Living through that was like auto-pilot. The true test was the 2 weeks after…the 2 months after and yes…even the 1 year after.
Allow me to walk you through what I believe was the Holy Spirit walking with me through this trying time.
1. My family has a weird idea of life and death.
2 Corinthian 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
I say “weird” because it is based on the Bible and NOT on the consensus of the worlds opinion of life and death. Dad and I had many discussions of how often and how much we longed to be in Heaven with the Lord. We talked of how this life is “but a vapor”. We talked about how great Heaven will be. I mean we LONGED to be with Jesus.
We joked about throwing a party when we die because we will be in Heaven and that is the best thing in the world. We should not mourn but rejoice.
2. God, himself, put a limit on how long we should mourn
That may seem cold to some people. However, there is a reason. There is a healthy mourning time and an unhealthy, almost other-worldly mourning that turns into idolatry and becomes sickness to our mind, body and spirit.
In the Old Testament read how long God would allow mourning. After 30 days it was over. Move on. Why would God put this limit on such a personal, deep, painful event? Because God knows the BIG picture. He sees into the other side…into the eternal.
Satan, our enemy that seeks to devour and destroy, will use the time of mourning to turn our hearts away from the Lord. He will use it to cause resentment and bitterness. Gangrene will set it in our hearts if the open wound of death is left untreated too long. “let the dead bury the dead” resonates with me. The dead in spirit will spend a great deal of energy, finances and time mourning a loss until that’s all they have left is the mourning.
3. God reminded me of TRUTH
Mark 12:26And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
As I was reading the Bible shortly after Dad’s death I read this verse and the Holy Spirit spoke to me.- He is alive.
Eternity we will be together. Stop mourning and start rejoicing.
Life on this earth is so short. To spend the entire time worried and anxious over grief and despair is not worth this precious short time.
4. I decided Legacy was more important than grief
Dad left a legacy of “be about your Father’s business”. Dad was a worker in the Kingdom of God. He worked tirelessly to spread the Good News of Christ. I decided that my life should represent that truth. To give up was not an option. To drown in self pity was not an option. I determined the best way to honor my Dad was to honor my Heavenly Father and be about HIS business.
I still missed Dad. I missed his wise counsel, our long conversation about anything and everything. I missed his hugs most of all. As my children grew up I missed the opportunity to ask…”was I that bad?” and “what did you do?”
He was my pastor, my mentor, my friend, my Daddy, my confidant, my kick-in-the-butt when I needed it…he was my adviser…
God is so faithful to those who will trust in Him. He will turn your mourning into dancing. He will give you peace that surpasses understanding. He will hold you up when you can’t stand on your own. He will be your strength when all is gone. He will be your friend when you are lonely.
Trust Him. Turn to Him. Talk to Him. Read His Word. You will find answers to your questions. HE will be the father to the fatherless. The husband to the widow. The friend to the outcast.
I cannot describe to you how much closer I am now to my Heavenly Father. I may have leaned too much and too often on my Dad’s wisdom and his prayers rather than seeking God for myself. But when you don’t have anyone else to turn to and God is all you have …HE will not disappoint. My life is so rich and full of God’s love, grace and mercy. I depend on HIM. I love HIM. I seek HIM.
What caused this post?
Recently, a friend lost her husband. A mighty man of God. A man my Dad loved and admired went home to be with the Lord too. After watching my mother struggle for years from that loss I knew a little about what my friend would go through. I pray for her. Her pain is only one God can heal. And HE will.
Repentance and forgiveness…yes, even about this subject. This is the healing process.
If you feel responsible in any way–pray–I choose forgive myself for>_____< (insert what you feel responsible for…not being there, not doing something, etc)
If you ask “Why God? Did you take him/her away?”–pray–I choose to forgive you God for taking/allowing him/her to die. I know that you did not “take” this person from me. I know you love me. I know you are the GOOD Father and nothing evil can come from you. I know I may not understand it all but I trust you Lord.
If you blame someone else –pray–I choose to forgive this person to taking the life of >>>>>(insert name)<<<<<.
>>continue….I let it go. I allow you, Holy Spirit to take away the pain, the grief, the unforgiveness. I repent for holding onto to it so long. I give it to you Lord. Come and heal my heart and tell me your truth about this situation.
I pray for those that struggle with the loss of a loved one. I pray you are girded with Truth. I pray strength from the Lord to be with you. I pray for peace as you walk and a the light of Christ to guide your way. I pray that your heart will be open to hear the Lord speak. I pray for God to send people to comfort you but most of all the great Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to comfort you every hour of each day. Amen.