There is joy in the memories

Sometimes the world seems like it has a wicked sense of humor.  We rejoice one day at the birth of a child, and the very next, we mourn the loss of a loved one.  At times like that, it seems as if we “can’t win for losing,” but there is always hope for the believer.  In John 16, Jesus is preparing his disciples for His ascension and says the following, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:20-22).  Now, I know that Jesus was speaking of his death and the subsequent victory of the resurrection, but there is much comfort to be found in those words during times of mourning.

In our present situation, we will not be fortunate enough to see Christ in person three days after His death on the cross, but no matter the reason for the pain we are presently experiencing, a time will come when we will once again have joy.  For the disciples, it was the moment they realized it was the Christ raised from the dead standing in their midst, and for us, it is the knowledge that our loved one has not been lost to us forever.  Beautiful memories, hidden from our minds because of the searing pain of loss, will soon return, and that gives us a measure of comfort.  I love the analogy Jesus uses with the woman giving birth because the same can be applied to us as well.  When we lose a loved one, the anguish can be overwhelming, and life can seem cold, dark, and grim. As companionship and happiness are stolen by death, the walls of pain close in on us, shutting out the light of joy, and we can find ourselves in the dark places of hopelessness and depression.

But we need to hang on to Jesus’ words of hope because in time, the sun will peek out from behind the clouds again, and we will once again feel its warmth in the shared memories of that person.  The pain of our loss should never be diminished by carelessly spoken words like “Time heals all wounds,” but at the same time, we should not dig ourselves a pit of grief we can never climb out of again.  Allow yourself the time to sorrow because your hour has come, but also allow yourself a time when that sense of grief turns to joy in the fond memories you have of them, the fun times you had together, the lessons you learned along the way, and above all, the love that you shared.  If you are experiencing such a time of grief today, God bless you with the comfort that only He can provide at a time like that, and know that you are in the prayers of those who love you.

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