Talking about this makes our eyes sting. In our line of work we have stood side by side with people who have experienced sudden, unexpected, tragic loss. The weight of these kinds of things rocks us to the core of our souls. It bothers all of us when we hear of searing loss happening to others, but it is quite another thing when it happens to us.
These and other questions immediately assault us:
√ How could such a thing have happened?
√ What did they/we do to deserve this?
√ How will we ever get through this?
We have two dear friends whose lives and children and grandchildren have been intertwined with ours for many years. We have been companions through thick and thin, and they have brought us enjoyment, loyal companionship, and freely shared giftings to our family and others. Several years ago the worst happened. Their son was headed home with his son from their Sunday gathering. By a freak traffic accident, our friends’ son was killed. Their grandson walked away without any physical injury.
I could say many things about this tragedy and the family members, friends, and the Des Moines community’s response to Grant’s death. It certainly was beautiful, but mostly it was terrible. I am still stunned by this tremendous hurt. Stuart Townend wrote a song titled How Deep the Father’s Love which we sang at Grant’s memorial funeral. It will always remind us of him, his family, and this deeply searing loss.
How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son – to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss – the Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One, bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice – call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ – His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart – His wounds have paid my ransom.
Our friends were and still are living out this bitter loss with their faith being called upon to the deepest part of who they are – over and over again. Grant’s family tragically buried their beloved father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He left an empty place of humor, hard work, protection, and intentional love no one can fill. Nor is anyone supposed to.
Warriors show their strength when all hope is covered by grief. What emerges is something that comes from a different world – a different place. Mere men and women are often consumed by grief, but these dear friends are walking toward the prize and the expectation of reuniting with love lost.
Paul talks about the sentence of death. Searing loss and danger are God’s arena to lead us places we would simply never choose to go.
What can we do?
√ We can pray to the Father for grace upon those who are suffering
√ We can offer Jesus’ hands of friendship where we can (sometimes there are no words)
√ We can join our hearts to those who are suffering
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15
“A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4
Dave and Burnadette
for our friends who suffer:
“When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.” – 2 Corinthians 1:6/M