Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Grief... and Hope

I’ve written before regarding the tragic loss of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter. Here’s a recent article on how he’s been doing since, and on his most recent album.

This is an area where I cannot relate. I lost my dad before my 21st birthday and have lost grandparents, aunts and uncles, but never anyone so “premature” as a sibling or a child. Yet I am still moved to tears when I read or hear about parents having to bury one of their own children.

Recently a brother was out visiting our church. He used to live here, but moved away before I moved in. But he kept in regular contact with the congregation, so we were all up to speed on the goings on of his life. Specifically, he shared about the health of his daughter. Regrettably, I don’t remember all the specifics, but she was diagnosed with a rare condition that gave her an expected life span of less than five years. I’ve lived here for nine years, so she made it to at least 8. He shared with us about his daughter’s joy despite her affliction, about the times they treasured together as a family not knowing if it would be their last. And as he fought back tears, he shared how he held her as she took her last breath earlier this year.

I cannot imagine. Tears well up watching Finding Nemo when I think about losing my son and not knowing where he is or how he is doing. The fear of not knowing is what breaks my heart most. But this brother shared that he found encouragement in knowing where his daughter was and how she was doing. It feels like a cliché, “they’re with Jesus in heaven,” and it almost sounds too good to be true. But we have reason for such faith:

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)
If the empty tomb is a lie, a cliché, too good to be true, then we should be pitied above anyone. Our faith is useless and our lives meaningless. So the resurrection of Christ is what we need to turn to in time of grief.

Oh, the name of this brother’s daughter, chosen before she was even born?


Jojo Agot said...

Love the Finding Nemo reference. i wasn't really a big fan of the movie but thanks for reminding.

Some of us are blessed not to go through the process of grieving. Praise God for that! Makes me appreciate the diversity of the human race more.

Glynn said...

Grief points to hope. Hope points to God. You're right -- this is a great deal of what grief's about.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this post...
thanks for the reminder of hope.

Anonymous said...

I really think grief and hope go hand in hand!

Thank you for this post.

Bernadette Pabon ,Teacher, Director of CCD, Author and publisher said...

yes when I hear of a childs death anywhere, it becomes personal. When the death is a crime it makes me think of the life that could of been, the lovethat coul dof been, and the pain that exist.

Peter P said...

How did I miss reading this post yesterday? I'm sorry, Frank!

Great post! I love the 'Hope' in it :-)

Fatha Frank said...

@Peter, no worries. I'm still catching up myself.

Everyone else, thanks for the positive feedback. I pray I never have to suffer grief as this brother or as so many others in the Carnival described.