Sunday, May 29, 2011

Remembering Our Loved Ones

The month of May is difficult for many, including my family and I. Over the years, we've endured several losses during this month. I find it ironic, too, that May is the first full month of spring; the earth is awakening with fresh new life, while memories of painful goodbyes crowd my thoughts. It seems appropriate that the month would culminate in a national holiday of remembrance. Memorial Day helps bring closure to weeks of reflecting on those who have gone on before us.

Witnessing the dead, dormant, earth being transformed with new, colorful life reminds me that the dead in Christ have new life in heaven with Jesus. What appears to be gone, actually is not. A Christian’s demise may seem like “the end of the story”, but in fact, it is the beginning of glory. Death is not final; we are temporarily separated from them, not eternally separated.

After a Christian loved one passes, it can be comforting to envision the analogy of what is happening here on earth, to heaven, and what might be going on there, simultaneously. For instance, while we are mourning their passing, they are celebrating their homecoming. Wile we are meeting with the funeral director, they could be escorted into the King’s presence. While we are selecting their casket, they could be inspecting their glorified mansion. While we are being comforted with soft organ music, they, along with a host of angels, are probably harmonizing, “Holy, Holy, Holy” in a worship service to outdo all worship services. While our faces are red from tears, their face is glowing with joy. And, while we are receiving guests who have come to pay their final respects, they could be introduced to generations of saints who have gone on before them.

Yet, until we are called home to join them, there will always be a part of us that will miss them, and long to be with them. If our loss is fresh, waves of grief can threaten to consume us. In time, however, our precious memories of our loved ones will bring us much comfort.

The God of promise wants us to remember that in the midst of those waves of grief, He is with us. We are not alone. If we hold fast to the Lord’s promises – eternal life with Him, and eternal life with our loved ones – it will give us the hope and encouragement we need to keep going on…until He calls us home, too.

As I delight in my purple irises and reflect on their struggle to get to this beautiful, alive state, I can’t help but smile at their transformation. And this Memorial Day, as you reflect on those who have so bravely given their life for your freedom here on earth, reflect, too, on the hope that you have in the One who appeared to be dormant for three days, but burst forth in new, eternal life for you and I. Jesus paid it all to keep us from an eternity of separation from God. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that we (and our loved ones) could have freedom in Him, and abundant life in Him … now, and forevermore.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39).

Forever His,

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Amen. What a glorious time in heaven! If we can only take comfort in that thought. :)


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