Have you ever tried to speak on a subject that you had never personally experienced? Seven years ago I published my first book Path of the Blessing: Abraham, Issac, Jacob. Within that book I spoke briefly about death and grief, but I couldn't elaborate much because of my lack of experience. I had known my Grandmother, Great Grandmother, and an Aunt to pass away and felt some sorrow as well as a young man that I used to visit who had a rare genetic disease.
I had never truly experienced what I would describe as a great loss until now; the loss of my 19 year old daughter Taylor.
Photo Credit Byron Medina
The grief and sorrow that I feel from this temporary separation is at times unbearable, but then this thought breaks through my sorrow; Taylor is not lost but just separated from us until we meet again in Heaven. (I like to think of her absence as if she's away on the best vacation EVER) Our family can't wait to see her again and we have that hope because of our faith in Jesus Christ.
"Actually, I haven't lost them, because I know where they are -rather, I've lost contact with them." Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Unfortunately I now have the experience to write about death, separation and grief and that's what I want to share with you.
About a month after Taylor left for Heaven I was feeling like God couldn't really understand the depth of my heartache and sorrow from missing my girl. I don't know about you, but I grew up going to church and was taught that "Jesus has experienced every hurt or pain that we could ever experience" and so He's able to sympathize and understand our pain first hand.
The problem was that I knew nowhere in the Bible Jesus had grieved the death of his own child...in fact he never had children so that statement that I was taught wasn't helping me. Even though Jesus had experienced grief through his suffering on the cross for you and I, that just wasn't relate-able enough for me. -Just being honest here...I needed more.
BUT Father God has experienced the death of his son; he had to watch him die on a cross. AND beyond that, Father God experienced a physical separation from his son for an extended period of time. (I know what you are thinking, the separation that occurred on the cross, but THAT'S not what I'm referring to)
Father God was physically separated from his son Jesus when he left Heaven and came to Earth for 33 years. Some time after his death and resurrection, Jesus then ascended to Heaven promising to return again. The Father and the Son were reunited in Heaven and the time of physical separation ended.
I had all of these thoughts hit my heart about God and then I awakened to this reality:
God DOES know my pain.
This is the more that I was searching for!
I believe that he's weeping with me and holding me through this journey. Just like the Father and his Son Jesus were physically separated for a time and then reunited in Heaven, so will all those who had loved ones who put their faith in Jesus that have gone to Heaven.
He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Isaiah 53:3 NLT
I never planned to experience grief in this way and I had never imagined I would. Now that I have, I know without a doubt that when and if you ever encounter this level of grief on your path, God understands. He knows your pain. You are not alone. He will continue to walk with you just like he did for Abraham when his wife Sarah died and just like how he continues to do for me.
Know that you can be on the path of the blessing (loving Jesus with your life; worshiping him, listening, inquiring of him, and obeying him) and still experience grief.
You might be asking, "what then are the benefits of loving Jesus with your life if it all ends the same?" -the benefits are two fold: you not only have the hope of reuniting with your loved one, but you have Father God to help carry you through it all. I wouldn't have it any other way.
If you want to know more about blessing or how to know which way to travel on your path and stay on a blessed one, then check out my book Path of the Blessing: Abraham, Issac, Jacob on Amazon.
Looking for a great devotional? Then check out my book The Compass also available on Amazon. This book will help you stay the path and help you stay connected to God.
Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear your thoughts.