I've been thinking a lot about death and loss lately.
This past year I've known seven people to pass from this earth into eternity. I've watched almost a dozen friends and associates lose their jobs. And I've walked with two people struggling with cancer.
As I sat this morning and filled out a sympathy card for another friend who recently lost her husband, I thought about the words I wrote to her: "May you be surrounded by God's tangible presence, and feel overwhelmed by his peace and comfort. May you somehow, some way, experience the unexplainable calm and the joy that God pours out, and may you swim in its depths—even in the darkest hours."
I've experienced those moments (sometimes seasons) of pain, in which I felt so empty and dark inside, I wondered if I would ever rejoice again. I've wept until I ached.
And somehow, some way, in the midst of my grief, God revealed himself. A quiet, oh-so-subtle calm slowly moved over me. While the pain didn't disappear, the brutal edge of it lessened. God didn't "show up," as some would say, for he was there all along. He simply reminded me that I wasn't alone.
It seems that God has designed every circumstance, every moment, as a reminder that we are not alone. When the sun rises each morning and the trees bear the beautiful, fresh, and stunning colors of spring, it's easy to remember and praise, along with the angels, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven's Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!" (Isaiah 6:3).
But perhaps his glory is also to be found in the pain of death and loss and loneliness. Even in the darkest loneliness, he reminds us that although life continually changes, he doesn't. The earth and everything in it—including our private pain—is filled with his glory. He is the one—the only—constant. He is always there, never leaving us, never forgetting, never too busy, never sleeping. Never changing.
The Lord gives and takes away.
Adapted from TCW article "The Purpose of Loss" by Ginger Kolbaba.