“For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4-8 NLT
We’ve recently had a death in the family. It’s shaken us quite a bit. It happened so quickly. It’s scary. It’s unknown. It seems so final.
In times like this, you often sit back and reflect on life. Thoughts of life and time start to invade our headspace and we jot down lists of ‘Places to go, People to see’ until our ink runs dry. It’s in times like these that we reflect and recalibrate. We chew on the bones of life to try and suck out all of its marrow, breathing in a few more sunsets and stealing extra moments with our family. It’s in times like these that the things we once bypassed, now captivate our full attention.
I find myself planning road trips and weekend outings for my family – anything to make lasting memories and stretch time as if that’s possible. My husband and I have also found ourselves researching our life policies, making sure the kids are comfortable should anything happen to us. That’s the thing about death, its uncertainty sends our minds racing faster than a formula one driver. We plan and then plan some more. We call our lawyers, set up meetings, continue living out the mind-numbing ‘must do’s, that we thought we ought to. We desperately try and manipulate what we can, while we can as to so better prepare ourselves. I’m not sure our futile attempts will help. I’m not sure all this chaos is worth it? What if instead, we just took a second to pause.
A few years ago, a childhood friend of my roommate came to stay with us for a while. I grew to know him pretty well. We became friends. He was funny, entertaining, cool to have around, an honest downright cool guy. He eventually moved back home to take up his dream job. He loved to fly. He was a pilot. And then his plane crashed. He died. He was 28.
I struggled to shake the tragedy of his death. I grappled with it for months. I lived in fear and doubt. I lived with the heart attitude of, ‘but why is life so unfair’ – that all-knowing saying that gets thrown up into the air whenever something unfamiliar and incomprehensible happens. It’s a thought we throw out there when something happens that we just can’t wrap our minds around. The ‘life is unfair’ statement echoes in our hearts and minds and we walk around angry and confused. Mostly, we become angry with God. For some of us, it’s a God we know. For others, it’s a God we’ve yet to understand and invite into our lives. But that’s the thing about death. It rarely makes sense. At least not to us, small-minded, earth-bound creatures. We weren’t created to understand the mysterious ways of God.
“Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete!”
1 Corinthians 13:9 NLT
After having said all of this and going through the motions of loss and what honestly felt like a betrayal, that familiar comfort of hope surrounded my beating heart and it brought me peace. That hope is Jesus. Because of the beauty of His salvation my eternal spot in Heaven is a guarantee for me when I pass. Golden streets and walls made of Jasper. That’s the hotel-like venue that awaits me when my earthly body fades away into dust. A glorious place with feast like activities all day long. I take comfort in knowing that my friend is there now. He knew Jesus. I’m pretty sure they’re flying around together discovering the gloriousness of Heaven.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.””
Revelation 21:4 NLT
For those of you who are currently facing some earth-shattering devastation, I’m sorry. I’ll never pretend to understand your pain. I’m sorry you’re feeling so raw and empty. I pray that one day you will be able to grapple with and relinquish the pain inside. That one day soon it will be easier to get out of bed and face the day.
I recently read a book which encourages those who are suffering, for whatever reason, and can’t seem to face another day, to take each day ‘5 minutes at a time’ because sometimes that’s all we can manage. So with the tiniest bit of strength you have in you, climb out of bed, make yourself some coffee, maybe even eat some breakfast – do it 5 minutes at a time. And when you feel like you’ve mustered up more strength, try and take a shower and put on some fresh clothes – do it 5 minutes at a time – just do the next right thing and before you know it, you’ll have made it through the day. That’s day one. step one. And then try it again the next day.
It won’t be easy but it is necessary.
There’s an unknown strength in you. Dig deep down and call out to the warrior within you. The world changer who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. You’ve got this honey.
And remember, if you’re willing, there are golden streets awaiting your arrival one day too.
(Book reference: Dragons and Dirt by Dalene Reyburn)