Recently, I learned about the death of a friend's loved one. The death was untimely, sudden, and, quite honestly, feels unfair. Their loved one was taken all too soon and learning of their passing stirred deep emotions of sadness in my soul. I've had my own string of deaths lately. We lost our grandmother in November and then our grandfather two weeks ago. In light of my grandfather's passing, a man who I am named after, I was ready to write a blog about the power of a name. Instead, the death of my friend's loved one caused feelings of heartache to once again surface. And, for now, the desire to write anything uplifting is postponed. Instead, I simply sit in grief and sadness.
Why am I sad? Well, for one, I strongly miss my grandfather. I loved him very much and while we knew his death to be soon, the pain was not lessened by the expectation. As I asked in an earlier post, how do you say goodbye to someone who seemed so invincible? Nothing can replace the weight and presence of a lost loved one. Even the hope of heaven cannot replace that loved one. That hope does provide a future expectation and a looking towards a reunion, but nothing can fill the void left by that lost family member or friend. We fill the void with grief and we try to move on as much as we can. However, as Jerry Sittser states so well in his book A Grace Disguised, a person does not "get over" grief. Instead, grief transforms you into a new person. You feel more, you learn to embrace life with more of a purpose, and, dadgoneit, you soak up every moment you can with those you love.
Yes, my heart is heavy, but that's ok. I serve a God who does his best work in the darkness and longs to be with the broken-hearted. So, if you're like me and your heart is a little heavy tonight, know that Yahweh is near. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. May we weep well.
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.