The Landscape of Loss
Every time I lose someone to death the overwhelming depth of grief surprises me. The rawness seems a foreign emotion, no matter how many times I’ve felt it in the past. Loss is like that.
My cousin lost her husband at the age of 49 last week. He had cancer but his death was sudden and very unexpected even in light of the words, “Stage 4.” In my mind I know that we’re sojourner through this life. Everyone is destined for an eternity somewhere. Forever is a nonnegotiable, but not on this earth. The first words my cousin asked me to say when she called were, “Say that verse about the Father’s house.” And so I said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).
Heavenward holds my gaze, but especially in times of loss when I’m deeply thankful that the promises of my Heavenly Father are etched in my mind and ground my emotional heart. Who He is, His love and His faithfulness are the only places where I can ever truly rest. But sometimes aching hearts hurt in recesses so deep that our only comfort lies in the promise of a beautiful eternity for those who are in Christ.
Guarding the Garden
When God formed Adam and Eve He created them to live forever. Beautifully knit into our DNA is the ability to never die. It was only after their fall in the Garden of Eden, when sin was ingested via the Tree of Knowledge, that God did something so very loving. Our gracious Heavenly Father sent Adam and Eve out of the garden and then stationed cherubim to the east of Eden with a flaming sword to prevent His children from ever returning and eating from the Tree of Life. Lest they live forever in bodies which were poisoned by sin and now dying (Genesis 3:22).
I think this is why death causes an ache that feels so very foreign and is a pain unique to humankind. We were created for eternity. The good news is the Good News, and that’s where I hold fast. Adam and Eve weren’t just sent out into the world to live, work and die in the dusty ground from which they were formed. God created a way back to Him though Jesus Christ. It’s in Christ’s atoning death that we have a promised eternal life free of pain and sickness in the presence of our Lord. And, as was the plan from the beginning, Jesus went to prepare a place for us. Our God is a God of grace and through faith we can find rest in our pain and loss
The Sweetest Homecoming
The angels outside of Eden guarded eternity but now the Heavenly Host sing songs of praise to the Lord each time one who was sick and suffering crosses the threshold of Heaven. In the presence of our Lord we await the day when should and body unite and are made whole through the blood of Jesus. The sweetest homecoming lies beyond the burden of our brokenness for those who are in Christ. Amen and Amen.
Clare Purinton serves on the Women’s Resource Council representing our Central South Presbytery. She and her husband, Dave, live in Huntsville, Alabama. They have two grown children and two slightly ill behaved dogs. After serving nearly 20 years in youth ministry, she now serves on the Women’s Ministry Team for Central Presbyterian Church. Clare enjoys writing, music and running, but her passion is teaching God’s Word.
This post was previously published on The Aguila Report website.