I couldn’t help but think as I wrote yet another card of sympathy, that I have attended more funerals this year than birthdays. I then thought it must be another sign of getting older, but that’s not the case at all. In January we attended a funeral for my husband’s aged aunt. She was ninety-nine years old and had lived a long and happy life. Only a few weeks later, we celebrated the life of a friend who leaves behind a wife and three children, the youngest child only eight years old. There was such an unfairness with which cancer riddled our friend’s body. Too soon taken from us. This past week, one of my former students, a brilliant boy, only twenty-two years old decided to end his own life. I am still coming to grips with the tragic loss of such a wonderful young man.
There is such a sense of unfairness when death comes too soon. We are left perplexed by the cold, finality of death. Its grip on each one of us is a certainty. We can’t escape its clutch but how dismally we mourn its wrath. Still, as a Christ Follower, we should mourn differently than those who have no Hope. “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
I won’t forget the words spoken by the Pastor this week as he spoke to over six hundred gathered for the young man’s funeral: “Some may wonder if he is in heaven. I don’t want you to ask that question, but ask whether YOU will be!”
The entire service was dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who had come to mourn. I witnessed a grieving family who exemplified joy in mourning. Their Hope is found in Jesus and despite their personal tragedy, they shared openly how they feel His presence and His comfort during this time of great sorrow.
Old age, cancer, disease, accidents, violence and in the case this week: deep depression robs us of our loved ones too soon. All life is precious and when death comes, no matter the cause, we grieve. It is understandable. However, I do grieve differently than someone who is not a Christ Follower. I am thankful that one day I will be in the presence of my Saviour in a place where there is no mourning or grief. When I die, I will go to a place of blessed reunion with those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus. Heaven will be my new Home. I have that Hope.