Grieving during a pandemic

This week I learned that a dear friend had unexpectedly passed away by a massive heart attack. He was 45 years old, the pastor of a thriving church, and left behind a lovely wife and three young children.

He was outlived by his parents who had come from overseas for vacation.

Grief is always the most unwelcome of companions. I’ve faced too many losses in my life to doubt the truth of that statement. But this loss was different.

Not only did we lose someone we loved but we are not free to celebrate the legacy of his life as we should. Pandemic regulations and the ongoing uncertainty sparked by this virus overshadow our celebration of the light his life cast upon the world.

But defiance is the kindling of the human spirit. The will to fight against despair, to see a glimmer of hope in the darkest night.

Instead of questioning why God allowed him to die, I find it better to reflect on why God gave him life in the first place. His life—however short—had a purpose that he accomplished.

And as my family and friends feel the sharp edge of grief slicing through our hearts once more, as we battle the seeming insensibility of it all, as we try to comfort from a distance the fatherless children and grieving widow, we somehow find a measure of comfort in this promise.

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

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