If you live far away from your family, you know the pain that separation can bring. Missing out on daily joys and activities is hard. Thank goodness for technology like FaceTime that allows us to see and hear each other, but nothing can replace a warm hug and the feeling of a three-year-old holding your hand.
One of the things that heaven promises is that when we get there, we will never be separated again:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39, NIV 1984)
God’s perspective of death is that death is not the end. It is not final, nor is it forever. God’s perspective is that by the power of the resurrection there is a death of death, as believers receive eternal life upon their death. And so, the good news is that nothing can separate us permanently from God or our families … not even death.
This means that this time of painful separation is only temporary. While the rest of your life will be spent without the one you love, the rest of your life is but a blink of an eye in the scope of eternity. Just as those highly anticipated moments in our lives seem forever to get here, like kids who wait for Christmas or brides who wait for their wedding day, those events are but a blink of an eye in the scope of an eternal lifetime. If you have older children, think back about their toddler and elementary years. How often do we say, “I can’t believe how fast it went”? And yet each pregnancy was its own lifetime!
The problem with grieving is that it slooowwws down time. We become suspended in an artificial reality that is all too real. Days are long and nights are longer because we are stuck in the moment of our crisis like a fly caught in tree sap. Our movements and our thoughts are sluggish. It takes forever to get simple things done, to make sentences come together, to remember why we have walked into a particular room. It is not uncommon to forget even names of friends and acquaintances after the shock of a death. Grief can make us feel as though we are swimming in tar, trying to reach a distant shore that keeps moving farther away and the swim is taking forever. Embracing God’s perspective that death and mourning are only temporary states can begin to help us shake off our sluggishness and get on with what is the rest of our short existence here. Hear these words of Psalm 90 that offer us a perspective of how God measures time:
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4, NIV 1984)
So, if you are grieving right now, take heart. This separation won’t last forever, and you are not alone in your sorrow. Jesus himself walks with you today, and while you can’t feel him holding your hand, you can know for certain that he holds your heart.
This based on an excerpt from my book, Mourning Break, available at Amazon.