Every morning people wake up and turn on the early morning news as a part of their morning routine. They tune in to find out the weather forecast for the day, traffic conditions and important news events. If the person is a sports fan they will also watch the morning news to find out who won the triple overtime game the night before because the game was still going at 1:00 AM and they fell asleep.
However, before a person can find out these important things, the news stations report several bad things that happen the night before. The morning shows rather it is two, four or seven report about who was murdered in cold blood, a family home consumed by fire or the deadly multiple car crash that cause several people to lose their lives. You also hear about a young twelve year girl or boy that was missing for two weeks but later their body was found by police recover out of the water.
Well one morning while watching the news, the Lord impressed upon me a revelation how the morning news shows most of the time do not report how the families are devastated of learning their love one has died. He began to have me think about the family members of the person who died and how that news turn their lives upside down. After receiving that revelation from the Lord, I began to thank Him each morning that I did not receive a phone call in the middle of the night that a love one or a close friend was no longer alive. However, when I did receive that call one September night about 11:30 PM that mother had passed away, that night seem to be the longest night in my life. After receiving that call from my sister, I was up most of the night not able to sleep having to deal with the reality that mother was now gone. When it came time to have her funeral the Lord let me know that she was with Him and that I did not lose her. He also reveal to me and my family that in our time of mourning that our God was our Comforter. Finally the Lord would let me know that we a love has gone on to be with him, that their legacy will still live on in our hearts.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
You didn’t lose your love one
None of us can ever be prepared for that day when our love one has transition from this life into eternity. In Hebrews 9:27, the word of God says “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. Unfortunately, when that day comes we can be hit with a ton of emotions as we try to come to terms that our love one has died. The news that we learn about their death can bring us to tears, have us in a state of shock or overwhelm anger and guilt. If our love one life was taken about the hands of other person or an illness, our heart can become consumed with blamed that illness or the person took our love one from us. If our only child died tragically because they were in a place they were not supposed to be, as a parent we might blame our self that we allowed them to leave the house that day. However, whatever the circumstances were that surrounded our love one death, we have to understand the Lord does not take life. The word of God tells us that there is a thief who comes to “steal, kill and to destroy” (John 10:10). The Lord wants you to know my brother and my sister you did not lose your love one because they are now gone from this life.
When we experience the death of a love in our life, that death does not mean that we have lost that person forever. When a person say loses their debit or credit card, it can cause a sense of pain or despair because their card is lost and they are at risk of losing their savings. However, from God’s perspective when our love one or dear friend has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, that person is not lost but they are in His presence. Whatever sickness or illness that stricken their body with chronic pain no longer has them suffering because they are walking in total health and wellness. Death is not the enemy for a believer that keeps their body, soul and spirit in grave. However, death it is a transition that ushers a person into the arms of the Lord and they spend eternity with their God. In Psalms 116:15 the word of God says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”.
The God of Comfort
A second important truth that we must hold onto in the passing of a love one is that in our time of mourning that our God is our Comforter. At the time of our love one final breath we might have been by their bed side or in another state when we receive the news that they have died. In my twenty six years in walking with the Lord, I have had to endure five deaths of love ones who had gone home to be with the Lord. All of them were difficult to go through but because the Lord was in my life, my family and also my sister Renee I was able to say so long to my love ones on this side of glory.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 the word of God says that “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”. However, when I first received the news that my sister Renee had died three years ago, I felt lost, empty and I was devastated. She had always been the one there waiting for me to come back home to Detroit to help her with the funeral arrangements of our loves such as our grandmother and mother. She had always been the one who was a calming force in the family so that when our grandparents on our father side had passed she was the bridge to help to both sides of the family come together and be there for one another. When the news came from my nieces and my nephew that it was now Renee, I needed the Lord to help me to experience a deeper level of His mercy and His comfort to not to say good bye but to say I will see you later Butterfly.
No matter who the love one is in your life that has passed away, the Lord is able to give you the grace to hold onto to “His rod and His staff” and give you His comfort and strength (Psalms 23:4). He is able to put people in your life to fill the void in your heart to let you know that though you are grieving over the loss of your love one, He has promised “to comfort those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4). When your heart is searching for answers on how you can bring comfort to those who are hurting, the Lord will bring “joy and gladness, thanksgiving and a voice of melody to His people” (Isaiah 51:3). As I stood behind the pulpit to eulogize my sister life during her home going service before all of our family, friends and her coworkers, He spoke a word to let us all know in Isaiah 49:13 that He had commanded “the heavens to sing and He had commanded the earth to break forth into singing”. Was I mourning myself that Renee was gone and that I would no longer be able to talk with her, the answer was yes? However, what I learned to hold onto in the midst of my pain what that “the Lord would comfort His people, He would have mercy upon the afflicted” as we celebrated the life of our love one.
Their Legacy lives on you
Finally a third truth that the Lord had me to hold onto is when a love one has passed on their legacy will always live on in our hearts. It is interesting that when you look up the word legacy in the dictionary, the definition that it gives is quite different on how our lives should impact others around us. According to www.dictionary.com the word legacy can mean “a law, a gift of money or property that left to us in a person will”. The word legacy also means “anything handed down from the past as from ancestor or predecessor”. However, when I speak about our love one legacy living on in our hearts I am speaking about the many life lessons that they shared with us which help to mode and shape us into the person we are today. A legacy that says that I am somebody, that my opinion does matter and that I was not born to be an echo but to be a voice that would matter today and the generations to come after me.
There are two dates in our lives that we do not have control over when they happen in our lives. The first date that happens in our life which we cannot determine is the date of our birth. In Jeremiah 1:5, the word of God tells us that “before you were formed in your mother’s belly and you came out of her womb, that He knew you, set you a part and ordained you for His purpose”. The second date that happen in our life which we cannot determine when it should happen is the date of our death. However, the one thing that the Lord allows us to have control us is the dash in the middle between the date of our birth and death.
The way that Lord allows us to have control of the dash in our lives because He has given us a free will to choose as a free moral agent. The legacy that our love ones have passed onto us is found in the dash that lived with us and before us. Yes we are going to miss their smile, we are going to miss their touch and their presence, but our love ones will always be a part of our lives. Man may never dedicate a building in our love one name and that is okay because building will one day crumble and fall. Man may never built a statue to honor the accomplishments that our love ones did in secret because a statue can be visited today and then forgotten about tomorrow. However, the legacy that the Lord has allowed them to leave for us personally in our hearts is that they love us and they did their very best they could for us by the grace of God in their lives.