From a Mother's Heart to her Daughters
Grief seems to be our main "something" these days. Losing two grandfathers in 5 months is difficult. No, it is more than difficult, it's painful! One grandfather fought death to the end, the other peacefully gave in to it. One death unexpected, the other expected. Both a man after God's own heart. How lucky we are to have had them in our lives.
Disease is like a sin. It can creep up on us and suddenly attack and destroy like the unknown virus your Grandpa Durnell had. Or it can come to you almost innocently and hide itself in your soul and quietly erode at your core until it can take over like the heart failure and COPD your Grandpa Arnold died from. But no matter the grip of sin in our life, we ultimately have the final control over it if we have God on our side.
Death did not kill or destroy your grandfathers. Death was only the means for them to enter into eternity where they are promised that perfection of living with their Jesus in a new world and in a new body. A promise they have always since that first time when they called on God and said "I believe. I want you in my life". Sin and death can take away our earthly body but it cannot take away our eternal body.
But death leaves us with grief. There is such a sadness and void in our hearts and in our minds. Yesterday my morning devotion took me to the story of where Jesus was praying on the Mount of Olives right before he was to be taken captive and crucified on the cross of Calvary. Remember that story? Remember how Jesus was praying and he would come to the disciples to ask for their support and each time he did they were sleeping? Well, I read Luke's version of the event and Luke cast a new light on it for me in this season of our grief. Read it...
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22-NIV)
Did you catch why the disciples were sleeping? They were exhausted from sorrow. Jesus had warned them that they were losing Him, their friend, their mentor, someone they loved very much. It was so painful to them that it stressed them to the point of mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion. Their mind could not comprehend why death had to happen. Their bodies were drained of any strength from the sadness and depression of this loss. Spiritually they could not even pray.
Death does the same thing to us today...if we let it. As I have walked away from the death of my most precious father and your grandfather, I experienced all three of those effects. Mentally and physically I withdrew. It has been hard to formally pray but I determined to keep talking to God, to keep in His Word knowing it would carry me though. Losing my precious father-in-law is no different so I am even more determined to talk to God and allow Him to carry me through this. In that determination I still grief but that grief is met with a peace that can only come from God.
Your grandfathers would want you to do the same. Jesus was important to them. They sought God in their living and they pass that legacy down to you. Embrace that legacy. It will get you through the toughest of times. I know. I want you to know this. Experience this.