“How are you doing?”  That’s a great question to ask, all the time of those in our lives.

Let me just say that is not an easy question for a person who has lost someone they love to answer. If you want the real honest answer, and I will sort of speak for grieving people, specifically those who have lost a child, if you would allow me, the answer is generally we are not doing all that well.

Life marches on.  We have moments of joy and moments of deep sadness. We laugh. But there is such sorrow. The painful sorrow hits us all the time at very inconvenient times. You know you can be sitting with a bunch of friends and maybe laughing and having a good time. And boom a memory will hit you. It is just like a landmine. You step on it and it blows up and you come crashing down.  Just this Sunday as we were worshipping the Lord together at Calvary, a wave came over my soul. We were singing how Jesus, the Lion of Judah, is ‘fighting our battles’. It was just overwhelming. Why the loss? Why the attacks after his death? Why allow the mockery Lord? Why was Eddie declared dead while still alive? Why not wait on the Lord? So quickly hope was lost by a few. It was a moment of unexpected emotion, an overwhelming reminder of the pain surrounding the last days and heritage of our precious son and brother, Eddie.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV)

“Well he is in heaven.” is often a quick response. We know. “So rejoice.” Please stop.

Now don’t misunderstand the statement, “please stop”. It is not what you said isn’t true. I agree. Rejoice. Amen. He is in heaven. In Christ, she is in a better place than we are.  Soon and very soon we are going to see the King and those who have died before us.  But please don’t say flippantly to a grieving person, “Well just rejoice.”  (I wrote a article not too long ago that will help you with what to share with your grieving friend.) Also, don’t misunderstand that your love and appreciation isn’t obvious. It is. It’s appreciated. But how careful we need to be as we serve others, especially those grieving.

Have you ever had anyone die in your life? Someone close to you? Have you ever had a child die?  When a parent loses a child, they can’t replace him or her. They can’t remarry. They can’t have another child in their place. You can’t replace a brother or sister. Siblings really wrestle with this deeply as well.  It’s a deep void, forever while living on planet earth. A family moves forward without their child.  There is no way getting around that.  This is also often true for widowers and widows who are older.  They aren’t remarrying.  As I was talking to a precious saint recently, she expressed how she literally feels like half of her is gone. It is a painful ripping away type of pain in her life. She won’t be remarrying.  For many, really for most, the grieving pain remains.

I was encouraged recently as Christina Grimmie’s dad shared at her memorial service. He said, “There’s a gigantic hole in my heart that will never go away. But God is bigger than the hole.” It’s so true. Both parts. The hole is real. The presence of God is real. The pain is there. The healing is there.

And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. 1 Thess 4:13-14 (NLT)

If you’ve had someone close to you die, you would never say it that way. You would say it with tenderness. You would say, “Man I miss him. But you know what? We will see him again.” I don’t know exactly but you’d be softer and more sensitive. You would just say it differently.  As you enter into the lives of others, the Holy Spirit will guide you. If you haven’t lost anyone close to you, I’m encouraged for you. If as a widow or widower you are remarrying, that’s a gift from God.  You have been spared significant pain… for a season.  But you’re surrounded with those who are not spared that same pain, every single day of their lives here until eternity.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. Heb 4:16 (NLT)

How are you today? How am I today? Please pray and bring those you know are grieving before the throne room of grace to find help in time of need. Believe me from personal experience, there is always more to the story and much prayer is appreciated.