Is it possible to find any reason to rejoice even in our grief? When Jesus was crucified and laid in that borrowed tomb, the disciples certainly didn't think so. But three days later, there was certainly rejoicing! Learn to lean into the arms of Love in your grief.
Walking out Your Grief
Grief is an interesting journey. A difficult one. There are no rules. No guidelines. We just have to walk it out the best we can…
Last Tuesday, I visited the place where my baby brother, Nathan, died.
As I drove down the highway toward the location of the accident which had claimed his life along with that of a coworker, my knuckles turned white around the steering wheel and my shoulders grew tense. Two months and one day had passed since he took his last breath somewhere along that highway. Was I really ready to face this?
Although I had not been there, I knew I would recognize it when I saw it. And I did.
Two white crosses stood somberly on the roadside near a patch of mesquite trees.
At the Scene
I pulled my car into the ditch, turned on my hazard lights, and took a deep breath. As I exhaled, I prayed for strength and peace and just for God to hold me up. And He did.
One of Nathan’s co-workers had meticulously fashioned the pair of crosses very shortly after the head-on collision which had claimed the two mens’ lives. Though I had seen a photo of them on social media, I could not have imagined the impact seeing them firsthand would have on me.
The atmosphere was heavy with the memory of the tragedy.
My healing heart shattered once again as I stood looking at the two memorials, painstakingly created by a gentle giant of a man who obviously cared deeply for my brother and his coworker. So many loved Nathan, that simple man with a great big heart and the cheesiest of smiles!
I’ve thought a lot about that roadside stop since last week. And tonight, as I ponder on the glorious Resurrection Sunday we just celebrated, seems a very fitting time for reflection.
While I was standing in that ditch on a Texas highway, I did not “talk to Nathan.” I knew he wasn’t there. I talked to my Father and cried out on Nathan’s behalf, but my brother left that place as his last breath escaped his broken body.
This reminds me of an event which took place almost 2000 years ago.
He’s Not Here!
On the third day after the crucifixion, two women visited the tomb of Jesus, the Man whom they had followed and loved. Jesus had been violently beaten, hatefully mocked, and sentenced to a gruesome and cruel death on a cross just three days before. (See Matthew 27)
(I wonder if Jesus’s disciples ever revisited Calvary after the crucifixion. And if they did, was the atmosphere thick with sorrow from the death of our Savior?)
But when they arrived at the borrowed tomb, they were in shock to see the heavy stone had been rolled away and the grave was empty! Jesus was not there!
Not only that, but an angel was there to tell the Mary’s that Jesus had risen from the grave! (see Matthew 28:6-7). Now, I don’t know about y’all, but that gives me goosebumps!
My brother is no longer on that highway, nor is he at some cemetery. We need ways to memorialize our loved ones, don’t get me wrong, but their spirits aren’t hanging out there waiting for us to visit.
Friends, Jesus isn’t there, either!
God is Love.
Love brought Jesus to earth to become flesh and take the sin of the entire world upon Himself.
Love didn’t leave Him hanging on that cross OR lying in that grave!
Love lifted Jesus up from the grave and seated Him at the right hand of God!
Love embraced my brother on that fateful day and led him to a place where there is no more suffering.
Love holds my family and me up as we walk through this valley of grief and reminds us that life is ever so delicate and fleeting.
Love made a way for salvation and eternal life.
Love is this…Jesus lay down His life for His friends (see John 15:13).
Love waits. Will you respond?