“…weep with those who weep.”
Life’s temporary separation from greatly loved fellow believers is deeply painful. However, this must be anticipated, because physical death has been part of God’s plan for humanity since the Garden of Eden. It is our only means of escape! Comprehending this mentally does not however remove the loneliness that accompanies being apart.
It is our natural desire to love others and avoid the pain associated with losing them. Death however, is the uniquely final human experience which proves that we were born to briefly live and then die. Thus, weeping and working through life’s loss is an adjustment that eventually comes to everyone – without exception. The Bible says, “For everything there is a season…a time to be born, and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 ESV)
The foolishness of believing that our Lord left heaven for no eternal purpose, or that heaven and hell do not exist – all end abruptly with one’s last breath! The Bible explains the brevity of life saying, “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) This is why Moses wrote, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Over time with God’s help, we must learn to focus our attention on His eternal purpose rather than on our own personal desires and needs. As we do this, little by little our pain of loss will surrender to life’s sweetest memories. This is how we find peace and spiritual comfort in the warmth of our past. Weeping “…with those who weep” is frequently the warm beginning of this process.
God never intended for spiritually fallen mankind to continually live on earth. That would have turned our world into a painful form of hell. Physical death is simply a blessed transition for those who personally know Christ as their Savior. In contrast, it is a totally tragic unending event for those who will never experience heaven!
It is the assurance of our salvation (see Philippians 1:6) that produces the joyful expectation of seeing Christ and joining those who have already preceded us to heaven. Our future time of arrival is subject to God’s appointed timetable because the Bible teaches, “There is a time appointed once for all men to die…” (Hebrews 9:27) Patience becomes its own adjustment. This may be why Paul explained, “… if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25)
When we lose someone dear to us it is the absence of their laughter, companionship, wisdom, example, and love that requires our greatest adjustment. Through such losses we learn to truly treasure what is most valuable in life. We discover what we actually admire and deeply appreciate. Through this discovery our losses miraculously become our spiritual gain. It is our transformation, deepened understanding, and character development that produces our hope for the future!
“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
What example will you leave behind? Will it instill faith, love, purity, and character in the lives of those who seek to follow in your footsteps? Will it inspire a lifestyle of ministry?
Pause to consider your current spiritual influence – what if you were suddenly taken home to be with the Lord later today? If you are not satisfied with your own feelings about your unspoken answer, then why not plan right now to make the needed adjustments? Our core values are the essence of our witness, so let’s pray to demonstrate Christian thinking in our speech as well as in our actions. The Bible says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5)!
By Billie Hanks Jr.