Wednesday, April 19

Losing a Loved One*

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. --Luke 22:43-44

About five years ago I attended a college production of "Godspell". The on-stage interpretation of Jesus' ministry and his final days gave me new insight into Jesus' last hours with his disciples.
My heart and my emotions began to stir as I contemplated the scenes before me. Jesus' last supper was his final opportunity to enjoy the company of his friends, participating in an ancient ceremony that bound them together in fellowship and faith.

I strongly doubt that Jesus' actions and words that evening were spoken in a tone that conveyed his all-knowing, all-seeing divine nature. When Jesus broke bread and drank from the cup as he explained that this was his final time to do so, I imagine he spoke in a low tone, laced with pain. Inwardly he must have been torn, knowing that very soon he would be walking away from his dearest and most beloved friends, and none of them had the slightest clue about it.

Knowing that Jesus' heart was breaking and his spirit was anguished well before he was lifted onto the cross brings me to a point of deeper understanding about his humanity. Because of this, I know that he understands the pain each of us feels when we lose a loved one.

There are times when loss bring with it so much grief that I can hardly believe I'm capable of feeling a single emotion so strongly. I don't think that the pain of losing a loved one hurts any less whether we are prepared for it or if it happens suddenly. After all, Jesus knew full well when it was his last conversation with his friends, still he grieved the loss. Certainly he felt an overwhelming pain as he looked into each of their faces for one last time before enduring even greater pain completely alone.

I find peace and comfort in knowing that God does not leave me alone with my emotions. He comes alongside me, even cries with me as I struggle through loss. Although God doesn't necessarily take away pain the moment I ask him to, he does provide me with a source of strength. The Holy Spirit gently whispers a reminder of God's promise that a day is coming when I will be free from the heartbreak of losing a loved one.

*Today's meditation is dedicated to the Kooiman family



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