I was reminded today of the senseless nature of death. I guess I had lulled myself into a sort of blissful forgetfulness. I should have known that I couldn’t stay there.
When the unexpected happens and someone loses a life, how do you respond? Wax philosophic and say that death comes to all? Turn cynical and say it always happens? Feel sentimental and say that you are always surprised? In some ways, I think I have all those “turnings” in my emotions when death comes.
But this is where I should be: I should thank God for the life that was lived by that person. I should ask God to make Himself powerfully present in the lives of those left behind. I should pray for God’s mercy to be upon all who are affected by the tragedy. Anger will come, along with an intense sadness. Disbelief, bargaining, and after a while acceptance will also be a part of the process. My job as a Christian living in the community is to lift up family, friends, teachers, by-standers, anyone who has been touched by such a horrific accident. I take that privilege very seriously, and will make these people marked by grief the top spot-holders in my prayer chain.
How about you? Each of us has been through situations where the ending is so hard to understand. Perhaps I should say that the ending is never understood. When that happens, where will you find yourself? Go ahead and let yourself grieve, feel for the people involved. Let no one ever tell you that you should stay emotionally un-invested in the lives of others. Pray for them, and remember that they are people going through immense pain. Psalms 31:9 (NIV) is a great verse to pray for those overcome with sorrow: “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” If you don’t know them, pray hard for someone to comfort them in tangible ways–taking care of younger children, providing meals, driving family to necessary appointments, etc… Even though in this awful situation I am not personally acquainted with the family, I know the One Who knows them intimately, completely, deeply, thoroughly. If you are in a relationship with someone who has the unthinkable happen, be there for her. Hold her, listen to her, cry with her, take her places, go out for walks with her, BE PRESENT WITH HER. Be the hands and feet and ears of Jesus. By being a blessing to someone, the blessing of being helpful will come back to you.
Where I live, it is customary to take food to a grieving family. Here are two excellent dishes for you to consider. If you live in a place where food isn’t taken, start a new tradition and provide a meal to the needy family. You will be blessed, believe me!