When I read this passage, I think of the comfort God offers world-weary people. As I write, we’ve recently said our formal goodbyes to my father through visitation and funeral service. We were there when his body was failing, at home and through his time in hospice.
Yet we know, as believers, that we have a place in heaven and that we will see our loved ones again someday. Still the separation is painful, and it’s hard to see a loved one in distress.
According to grief expert, Elisabeth Kbler-Ross, grief comes in stages, but they may not show up evenly, one after the other. We may go back and forth amidst sadness, anger, denial and more, and further, my grief may not resemble yours. It is normal to feel loss.
Even Jesus mourned his friend Lazarus who had died, and being fully human, Jesus cried. He felt the separation pain as we do. In reading the gospel (John 11:1-44), we know that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. We cannot do that, but we can look forward to reuniting with family and friends one day in the future.
Heavenly God, you've prepared a place for us in your kingdom. We ask for peace and comfort as we mourn those we have loved. Amen. — CRW