Dealing with death is not easy for any of us. It doesn’t matter if the death is sudden and unexpected, or the culmination of a long illness. The truth is, we all struggle with letting go of those we love. And it seems that when tragedy comes into our lives there’s usually the initial shock, which many of us can deal with through sheer force of will - but then afterwards comes the reality of life without our loved one. And that reality can shake us to our very core, as we find ourselves wondering, “What now? How will I survive?”
The good news is, as we wrestle with the reality of life without our loved one, God’s grace can help us. Here’s what I mean: deep loss reminds us that life is a vapor - we are here today, and gone tomorrow. That’s the harsh reality of human life. But in the midst of that reality is the comforting truth that not only does God never change, but He also never leaves us. God makes this very clear in Malachi 3:6 when He says, “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you will not be destroyed.”
So when we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by the loss of a loved one, or by any time of difficult loss, we need to hold on to God. We have to exercise our faith, and let that build our hope, as we remember that there can be a brighter tomorrow because God is with us. And the best way to exercise our faith is morning-by-morning. So each day we get up and ask God to help us through that specific day - not thinking or worrying about the days to come.
Lamentations 3:22 puts it beautifully, telling us that God’s “mercies are new every morning.” That’s a reminder that we need to live life one day at a time. God did not say “every week”, or “every month”, or “every year” - He said “every morning”. So we need to get up each morning with anticipation that His grace will be sufficient for that day - and then let tomorrow take care of itself.
All of this stuff has been on my mind a lot lately because our community recently lost a young woman to a sudden death - and then a few days ago, a good friend of ours lost her father to illness. The result is that I’ve been doing a lot of praying and thinking about loss and grief, as well as reflecting on the losses in my own life over the years. And as I've done that, God has reminded that, even though friends and family are gone, He is not. He is with me - He will not forsake me - and He will take me through each day, as it happens. And what is true for me, is true for all of us - no matter what sort of loss we’re facing.
So today, let’s remember that we are in the grip of God’s grace and mercy - and His grip will keep our hearts and minds at peace, if we let Him. Let’s remember our help truly is in the name of the Lord. And then tomorrow, let’s get up, and hold on to that truth all over again.