Dealing with death is not easy for any of us. It doesn’t matter if the death is sudden and unexpected, or whether it’s 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 deal with out of adrenaline or 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 is there, and His grace can help us. The loss of our loved one reminds us that life is a vapor - that 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, we have to hold on to God. We have to exercise our faith, and let it 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. It’s getting up each and every day and asking 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 not just a sweet saying. It’s a reminder that we need to live life one day at a time. God did not say that His mercies are new “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.
So why all of this talk about death and grieving? Well, the simple answer is that it’s the holiday season, and usually around this time of year we think a lot about the people who were with us last Christmas, but aren’t here this year. Or we think about all of the wonderful holidays we shared with a loved one who has been gone for a while, but who we still think of every time we eat that holiday meal they loved, or we hang the ornaments they made, or we hear their favorite holiday song. The holidays are a great time for celebrating, but they’re also a time for remembering those we love who are no longer with us. Which means they are also a good time for remembering that, even though our loved ones aren't with us, God is with us, He will never leave us, and His mercies are new every morning.
So today, in the midst of all the busyness and activity of this season, let’s take time to remember that God is here, and He will not change. Let’s thank Him that we are firmly in the grip of His grace and mercy - and that He will keep our hearts and minds at peace, if we let Him. And then tomorrow, let’s get up, and hold on to those truths all over again.