Death and Hope: Losing a Loved One and Coping with It
Last 2017’s Christmas was different from all others. Last November 30, 2017, my mom passed away after fighting cancer for four years. It was a tough battle, with a lot of emotional highs and lows for the entire family. This is our family’s first fight with death, and this is also our family’s first Christmas where we will no longer be complete. I know this Christmas, a lot of families would also be experiencing what we have experienced. At the same time, there is unexplainable peace in my heart knowing that my mother is now with the Lord and is enjoying the presence of God. During the wake of my mother, one of the verses that I usually used in preaching funeral services had found more significant meaning now that I have also experienced losing a loved one.
Acts 13:36 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,
Three things that I saw in this verse that made me appreciate life and death as a Christian.
- We as children of God are given a purpose in life.
The purposes of God is what gives us life and meaning. God’s purpose for us is the reason we can wake up excited and in faith knowing that there are things that God has in store for me as I live out His purpose.
David served God’s purpose in his generation before God took him away. I hope and pray that we might see the serving God and His purposes in this life is a privilege and honor that God has bestowed upon us as His children.
- We, as children of God, have hope in Christ.
It is interesting that in the Bible when somebody dies, the term used was falling asleep. It is a picture of hope knowing that there is an afterlife where we would have glorified bodies. The book of Revelation tells us that there would be no more sickness and tears in heaven.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The picture that I have of my mom during the wake was her looking down at us with a healthy body dancing and worshipping the Lord like she would when she was still healthy here on earth. It gives me great peace and comfort knowing that my mother is in a better state because she is now with the Lord.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, Paul wrote and encouraged the believers of the glorious future their departed loved ones would have in the presence of God.
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
3. We, as children of God, are given the privilege to be in a family.
Death brought our family closer than ever. The weekly visits we had to spend time with our ailing mother, the discussion of what will happen after her death, the realization that life is too short not to build a deeper relationship with family became more real during the trying times of our mother.
David was buried with his ancestors in the grave. In life, we are born into a family, and we will be buried with family. In our sick bed, it is family that surrounds and takes care of us. That’s how important family is that is why the enemy does not want us to experience healthy family relationships.
As Christians, we must build deeper with family. Being a dad of four kids, I need to create beautiful memories with my kids. I also wanted them to see that while my mother was sick, we sacrifice time to be with her. I am privileged to be the son of Violeta Sy. Nobody can take my place. God placed me in my family for a reason and just like any meaningful relationship; I need to fight for it. It is no wonder why the last verse in the Old Testament before Jesus came talks about God restoring families. That is how important family is. Love, encourage, express while they are still with us.
Malachi 4:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
How about you? I would like to hear how you coped with the passing of a loved one. Pls share your thoughts below.