It’s been two years since the untimely deaths of my cousin and my niece. While I have found peace in my relationship with Jesus, my cousin’s Dad and my niece’s Mom still struggle with the deep, inner grief left by the untimely deaths of their daughters.
I’ve followed their Facebook posts as they have walked through their grief journeys. No amount of words or anything in this world can bring comfort to their aching hearts. At least monthly, these parents voice how much they miss their daughters and long for the opportunity to hold them and see them smile once again. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, neither parent has turned to Jesus for comfort, peace, and emotional healing. Only Jesus can fill the void left by the death of our loved ones.
Now, as the devotional I wrote in memory of these two young girls is shared with those around the world, I sit at my desk, once again, praying for other families who are processing the news that their loved ones have either unexpectedly been killed or are on their way out of this life and into the next. Death seems to come at the most inopportune times. While death can be a joyous occasion for those who have lived long lives and are ready to meet Jesus face-to-face, it still leaves behind family members who grieve their absence; people who long to be with their loved ones just one more time.
Each time death knocks at the door of family and friends, I realize even more how important it is to value the lives God has given us. Each day is a gift from God. I observe friends keeping so busy and filling up their time with so many activities and obligations that they don’t even have time to get proper sleep. Because their schedules are stretched so thin, they do not have quality time to spend with their loved ones and, more importantly, with their Lord.
As our friend nears death, I think back to Jesus’ words of comfort that he will give us peace. This deep, inner peace is only something that Jesus can give to us during our heartache and times of grieving. He is our hope. He gives us strength to continue living the life he has given to us. For those who die in the Lord, we know that we’ll see them again someday but we still mourn their deaths. We still experience the grief that death leaves behind.
While death can be cruel, especially when it comes unexpectedly and tragically, it can also teach us to live our lives to the fullest. To enjoy each moment we have with those we love. To give thanks for each day God allows us to enjoy his creation here on earth. To seek that deep inner peace that only Jesus can give to us. To keep our focus and hope in Jesus and allow him to bring us comfort.
“As the curator of The Upper Room Chapel and Museum, it is my task to highlight art and draw the viewer into the work itself. On clear days, the art is outside The Upper Room Chapel: gorgeous pink blossom clouds of the Japanese Magnolia trees. The blossoms don’t last very long. If you are in the Nashville area, take a few minutes to stop by and enjoy them. ‘We recognize God’s presence in the world around us,’ the author of The Mystic in You says. ‘Sometimes it comes because of our intentional spiritual practices. Other times, it comes when we least expect it and do not feel as though we deserve it. … Geese flying overhead and a dog running in its sleep become windows into eternity when we pause, notice and open to the wonder of all being.’ Sometimes it is in a pink cloud of blossoms.”