I have a good friend who recently lost his mom. There was little warning, just a few days of struggle then a sudden snatching away. His heart is breaking as he tries to understand the loss. Added to his pain is his concern for his father, whose health was and is very frail. He is aware and concerned that he may lose both of his parents in a short time.
Grief is the process of understanding who you are now that the person you love is gone. So many have said that it would be easier to lose an arm or a leg than someone so important. Grief is filled with fear, anger, worry, and loss. When these special people are taken away, the support structure on which we depend seems to be weakened. Where will the words of encouragement come from today? Who will be there tomorrow, no matter what? What will I do without her? Grief is a dark cave we must enter.
My prayer for my friend is that he will soon understand that the love he received through his parents was from the Lord. There really is no other source of true love. The support and encouragement and stability my friend found in his parents is still there. They were the channels used by the Lord. It was a blessing for him to have them for so long, but the love will never end.
Paul said that love never fails. Other important things fail, but not love. When all the things of this life fade and we ourselves are taken away, love will be the one firm foundation under us. John understood as well, teaching us that “God is love.” Because love comes from the heart of God, love is eternal.
For many of us, Christmas is a time of memories and twinges of grief. It doesn’t seem to matter how long ago that special person left us, the feeling returns easily. Not as intense, perhaps, but still very real. But understand and remember that the love came from the Lord. It hasn’t gone away.
It will take a while for my friend to feel secure and at peace, but he will. He will because he trusts the Lord who loves him. He will understand that the love of God is just as real, no matter who stands with him. Friends may fail and families drift apart, but the love of God is more secure than the sun or the stars in the sky. When even those are gone, that love will remain—and be enough.
My friend, I grieve with you, but not as one without hope. My hope and yours is in the Lord.