These last few months have been trying, emotional, difficult, beautiful, sad, joyous…
Grandpa H died before Thanksgiving. It was totally unexpected and brought so much regret and sadness to so many. He was a funny, always smiling, laughing, tall old man who made it a point at every meal to say that you should eat dessert first, because what if the Lord came? He and Grandma were a fixture at my in-laws for holidays the last few years, and it was always amusing to see and experience the jest and loud laughter of the H men. He was a retired pastor, and he loved to talk about the Lord, to any who would listen. They made a point to share fellowship and the Gospel with their Amish neighbors, who adored and checked on them often. I miss what he brought to the family.
Then the dear, small, old woman whom I lovingly call ‘Grandma’ (never ‘Grandma-in-law’), that sweet woman who opened her arms to me, cared to know my history so she could encourage me through it, and adopted me into her heart and family, passed from this life into the arms of her Savior over New Years. Again, totally unexpected, though we knew how heartbroken she was losing Grandpa.
I’ve never been present for a homecoming before. It was different than I imagined, it was more painful than I thought and it reminded me that life is so fleeting. One moment she was making banana pudding for our family Christmas that was supposed to take place just hours after she died, and the next too weak to stand or walk to the car. I made it to the hospital in time to talk and laugh with her for a few moments, and tell her how much I loved her just an hour before she went home.
The emotions are still raw. I’ve cried a lot, I’ve hurt a lot, I’ve felt a lot of regret, BUT… I have joy because I know she is so, so happy right now. She’s with Grandpa again, she’s met her daughter who died at birth, she’s worshiping her Savior and knowing what true life and health really is. The perspective I have is only due to the fact that I believe Jesus is God’s Son, that He came to earth to die in my place for my sins, and that He has a purpose and a plan and a promise to give us hope in this life and everlasting life in the next. If I didn’t, I don’t know how I could handle the loss of these beautiful people. What is there to hold onto if what Jesus did doesn’t count? Memories fade, and they would do nothing but hurt if I had no promise of ever experiencing their presence again.
After all of that, and at the very end of my pregnancy, I heard from a dear friend who has had a crazy amount of suffering already, that her friend, her best friend, who was driving to her house to bring their sick family food, was killed in a horrible car accident.
Oh Jesus. Where was He? This beautiful young woman, who lived her life to serve Him, aiming to make sure whatever she did was glorifying to God, desiring His will for her life… gone. A life cut short.
Pain. Heartache. Sorrow. Anger. Why? I didn’t know her, but I feel all those things for my dear friend whose loss can’t even be explained. I’ve cried many, many tears for her.
So, in this world, where your next breath has no guarantee, what does anything mean? Why are we here? What’s the point?
If there was no promise of anything after this, there would be no hope. No peace. No comfort. No joy. Nothing to look forward to. Nothing to hold onto. The perfect definition of the blackest darkness.
So I hold onto Jesus. I hold onto all the promises in Scripture that He will never, ever leave or forsake us, that we can do and endure ALL things through Him because He gives us strength, that He has gone to prepare a perfect place for us to be with Him after the beauty and suffering of this life is over, that we will see our saved loved ones again, that He will reign forever and ever. There’s hope in that. There’s joy in knowing all these losses are part of His perfect plan, and we will see these beautiful, Godly people again.
What a day that will be. What a glorious day that will be.
So, Dear Friend who is experiencing loss right now… please don’t despair. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to cry out to God. It’s ok to sob and feel like your heart couldn’t possibly hurt any worse that it does right in this moment. But it’s not ok to think that we have no hope and no help. If you have trusted in Jesus as your Savior, the hope and help He provides will carry you through this dark, terrible moment. Cling to Him, Friend.
Sending you much love and hugs,