Life can be hard. And beautiful. And messy. And exciting. And hard. Over the last year, there has been quite a bit of hard. I have been to four funerals. Two were peers with small kids. One was a young woman I’ve known since she was in junior high, and one was a sweet child. At each event, there was this overwhelming feeling they were gone too soon. Even though we all know that death is a natural part of life, it is such a difficult reminder of how short this life actually is. Our life is but a vapor; it’s here one minute and gone the next.
Each person I’ve lost had so much life still yet to be lived. They were all dearly and deeply loved. And yet it was their time to enter into eternity, their time to live in the fullness of God’s presence and light. I have grieved and cried and have even felt a bit hopeless.
But on a recent road trip I took with some friends, we saw a triple rainbow, and it was utterly breathtaking and awe-inspiring. I had never seen such a sight before, and I was overcome with a deep sense of peace. In that moment, the Lord reminded me of who He is at all times and in all circumstances, and that simple yet powerful truth lifted the heaviness I had been carrying.
Since God is a good Father, He wants nothing more than to be good to us. The very nature of His heart is goodness. Tragedy and trials happen in this life because we live in a broken world, but Christ tells us to take heart. He has overcome the world. He has overcome tribulation, heartache, grief, pain, and even death. For Him, death is only the beginning. For us in Christ, death is not “goodbye;” it is only “until then.” And because of that we have hope.
Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from Him.
Psalm 62:5 (CSB)
God is the giver and sustainer of hope. He is the DNA and foundation of hope. He gives it freely and upholds it purposefully. On the mountain tops and in the valleys of life, He is our source of joy and peace, mercy and comfort. He is with us in our losses, and He carries us through them. He works things out for our good and for His glory.
Our souls were made for rest, not worry. I’m sure you know as well as I do this is easier said than done. I’m learning that rest doesn’t come from my circumstances being perfect. It comes from the character of God and my identity in Him. And sometimes we have to talk to our souls and tell it to rest when the circumstances around us are screaming the opposite.
Hope and healing come straight from the heart of the Father, but often times He uses His sons and daughters to usher it to us. After the funeral of my sweet former youth girl, her dad hugged me and thanked me for being in her life. It was my joy to do so. I thought about how we were designed to function as a whole, the Body of Christ. We truly are meant to live as a family of God. We rejoice with those who rejoice, and we mourn with those who mourn.
I don’t know how well any of us would do without community. I have wondered a lot over the last year how anyone grieves without Christ. We can grieve with hope that we will see our loved ones again, and we can offer that hope to those who are grieving around us when they forget.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (CSB)
There is strength and power in the Body coming together to offer hope and encouragement. It delights the Father’s heart when we do so. He honors it and equips us to walk the long road ahead with others.
Hope and healing are God’s sweet gift to us, and it is our generous gift to the world.