In the last 3 years, I have wept deeply over four significant life moments:
1) For deeply hurting someone close to me
2) For the loss of a ministry position
3) For my Dad’s death
AND most recently 4) For the death of an unsaved friend
I have found in each of these life moments a profound sadness I have not experienced for much of my life. I also find myself weary, deeply weary of life’s disappointments and goodbyes. Upon reflection I find each of these life moments to hold a unique place in my thoughts. I do understand that weeping is truly an emotional release perhaps sort of a burst of deep sadness. Yet for each of the four life moments mentioned above that sadness has a different quality altogether.
Weeping as a result of deeply hurting someone close to me was excruciating, but I found forgiveness and truly that faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6). On the other hand, my sorrow for a job loss proved to be momentary especially when I experienced a renewed sense of freedom along with the healing grace from family and friends.
No one can prepare you for the death of a parent. My sorrow increased from the moment I heard the news to the moment I saw his lifeless body in the casket prior to the funeral. However, my weeping was mixed with great hope of seeing him again in heaven. Even so, there are times I am surprised by a memory of him and find I am fighting back tears.
In all, these first three have a different ending that the last one will never have. These life moments I have already described have joy attached – forgiveness, grace, and hope. But this last one I’m fearful will linger with me in a wholly different way.
I knew Nick less than a year. He was friendly and outgoing. We were fans of many of the same sports teams and often kicked such subjects around. For the last three months he was my protégé at work. He was a good sales man and I knew he would do well as the months progressed. At age 32, he still wasn’t married, but looking for Mrs. Right. On the matter of spiritual things, he grew up Catholic but the importance of God and church had faded in his life.
Nick heard the truth that you can’t earn your way to heaven. He knew that Christ was essential to eternal life. Yet he felt he had enough religion for now. After all he was young and had much of his life ahead of him. He received a fair share of evangelism, even though I’m not sure how much he saw the truth lived out. I sought to be an example of Christ every day we worked together. At the end, it wasn’t enough. My friend, as far as I know, went to bed Friday evening and died in his sleep without trusting in God’s one and only provision for eternal life.
So my sorrow has an edge that cannot be undone. No do-overs in life after death. There never has been. The Bible says it is appointed for man to die and after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). I wish my friend had his judgment cancelled because of Christ.
As with any sorrow, I have but one thing to do: Rest in the sovereign, loving and grace-filled hands of our heavenly Father. He alone comforts my heart.