I’ve been thinking about loved ones lost recently and how we carry them in our hearts years later; they never truly leave us. I often hear it said that it’s easier when the person who passes is old and has lived a “full life”. I haven’t found this to be the case with time. Certainly in the moment it helps me come to accept the loss, but I still carry that person in my heart and I still miss them, desiring them to be close to me again.
Why is this? Why can we not seem to overcome it?
I think that the simple answer is death was never meant to be. Praise God that He kicked us out of the Garden of Eden before we could eat of the Tree of Life. Could you imagine if this life was eternal? It’s a depressing thought!
And we must also praise Him for His grace in allowing us to die and so that in Christ we will go on to eternal life where, as it says in Revelation 21:4, there shall be no more “mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
It is because of this hope for eternal life that I do not fear death and the lives I grieve the loss of most are those who die not knowing the Lord. I find my heart resonating with the words of Paul:
Philippians 1:21-24 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
I often long for the eternal life with Christ that is to come, and yet I know that He has a work for me to complete here. What worries me about dying is not death, itself, but rather concern for the faith journey of those who would be left behind. As Paul said, to live is to follow obediently after Christ, and to die is gain, as we go to be with the Lord. So in this life, work in light of eternity.