The death of a loved one, like my brother-in-law, Jay, is so hard to face and to understand. We want to cry out, “it’s not fair.” We look at young family members loosing a parent and we want to ask, “Why?”
We’re filled with grief. We feel like it makes no sense. The death of a loved one who is still young, especially, leaves us unsteady and unsure about what God is up to.
But we know these things.
Death gets our eyes off this world and makes us consider, what’s next? Our suffering makes us consider God. It makes us wrestle with and confront our own mortality and need for God. Our sadness and grief at our loss and, in this case, Jay’s gain, makes us remember that this world is not God’s plan. God’s plan includes so much more than this world can ever hold.
In the days to come, when we’re caught up in our pain and grief we can do several things—
• When you wonder and want to cry out, “Why?”—Pull out and dust off God’s Word. See for yourself what God is up to. I challenge you to use your tough moments and learn about who God really is. Find out what He has told us about Himself and His plan!
• When you’re caught up in your grief and pain go do something for somebody else. As Jay told Latt before he died, “Get of your butt and go do something.”
Go mow a field, mend a fence, or hug your kids.
Go fishing and enjoy God’s amazing creation knowing God has more in store for us than this world offers.
Go to somebody’s aid that is stuck in a rut and a hard place.
Take care of your responsibilities—whether it’s balancing the books, slinging your bags of heavy feed, or doing a hard days work on the job.
Go home and help your folks, your kids, a friend, or your sister-in-law whose car is in the ditch.
Do the dishes or cook a meal for your family.
Or when you’re out and you see a family that you know is hurting, quietly pay for their dinner.
• Accept God’s gift of life. Just as Jay gave again to others through his death and the miracle of organ donation-so God gives to us, even more than this, through the promise of new life in Jesus.
But just as those in need of a life-giving organ have to “actually accept the gift” being offered to them, so we have to accept and want the free gift that God offers to us.
Jay wasn’t perfect. None of us are. But God is good. God brings good things out of the bad and God makes all things new.
Our task is to investigate, accept, and grow in, God’s gift of new, abundant, eternal life that He offers to us (with promises, proof, and provision), in Jesus. We accept it and grow in it, and then, we can give to others, as we comprehend God’s generous and abundant gift to us.
• Enjoy the memories of your loved one and enjoy life. Life is serious, but Jay knew how to laugh and smile. Many of our memories of Jay bring smiles and laughter, too. We need that.
Cry when you need to cry, and laugh when you can laugh. Go enjoy the memories you have of your loved ones and reach out to those around you.
• When the pain is too great, remember:
“God richly blesses all who call on Him, and all who call on Him will find help and be saved.” (see Romans 10:12-13)