In a less-than-ideal society and in a country not their own, a husband and wife end up in the same prison. Under the beneficence of the judge, they were even allowed to serve their sentence in the same cell. Because they loved each other so much and spent all of their time together, literally, the wife became overwhelmed with grief and sorrow when the husband was paroled. She didn’t know if or when she would see him again. To go from spending every day together, then suddenly being altogether separated was almost more than she could bear. Of course, not knowing how long she would remain there added to her frustration and fueled so many unanswered questions, primarily, “WHY?!” She felt as if he had been ripped away from her without warning, stoking the fires of isolation and disconsolation.
Not many days after, while on the visitation yard, a tender-hearted corrections officer who knew of her situation and who had also noticed the change in her appearance and behavior, approached her. The officer had barely finished uttering her words of sympathy and compassion when the wife cried almost hysterically and, in her desperation and loneliness, almost appeared to choke as she gasped the words, “Why?! Why?!” Not wanting to be perceived as patronizing, the officer held the woman’s hand, listened to her as she released her emotions and feelings, and even sat with her during her only break of the day; such was her concern for this virtual widow. After several minutes, as the parolee’s wife began to gradually become somewhat composed, the officer ventured an explanation she sincerely hoped would shine a new light on the woman’s situation, offer her hope, give her a different perspective and perhaps even to project some joy into her new friend’s heart.
As the guard’s compassionate eyes met the sorrowful, but almost expectant gaze of her audience of one, she gave her thoughts and convictions voice with these words:
“I know how much he meant to you. I saw how much you loved and cared for each other. I witnessed the laughter and familiarity and support you shared. Since he has gone, I’ve also watched as you have experienced senses of loss, grief, incredulity, anger and shock these last days—and I most certainly understand that, but let me ask you this. As much as you miss him, and as much more as you love him, and even as much as you would like to be with him again, would you really rather him be back here with you in this awful place—which would certainly make YOU happy and ease YOUR pain and suffering—or can you be glad for him that the good judge showed him mercy by freeing him from this prison once and for all? This is not for you to feel guilty, but to be happy for him in his freedom as you await your reunion.”
Of course what may have seemed, at first, to be a retelling of an actual sequence of events or, perhaps, you knew from the beginning it was fictional, doesn’t matter. So many times I have heard first- or second-hand of people who have lost dear, dear loved ones. The relationships differ. Sometimes they are husband and wife (newlyweds or covenantal veterans), sometimes it is with parents and children (from infant to adult), sometimes it is mentor and student, sometimes brother and sister, sometimes best friends, sometimes comrades in arms or another close relationship. One can sense the profound anguish in the shaking of someone’s voice and the words they employ to convey the all-too-fresh memories. As a result of these situations and real people reverberating in my heart and mind for a long time, I believe with all my heart and soul this is the word and the time Almighty God has chosen and given to me and to you to offer you, the hurting, confused, lonely and the upset a heavenly perspective and to give you consolation. While it may not make sense yet or fit every circumstance, it should when the cloud of gloom begins to lift.
When you are able and by the grace of God, rather than shake your proverbial fist at the Lord God Almighty, do one of two things (and I do NOT take these words lightly, nor are they flippantly written). First, consider in your moments of lucidity whether the one you lost made choices that led him or her to their seemingly premature passings, as we all bear at least some measure of responsibility for and by our actions. And second, the Bible is purposeful to show the immeasurable compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ in these words from Hebrew 2:17-18, “Therefore He HAD to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself [as a human] has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” And secondarily, but also importantly, is the possibility of us helping others down the road as 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 shares, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
In case you do not know your Creator, the God of Heaven and Earth, Jesus Christ the Lord of all salvation, he has paid the price for you. He has suffered in your place. Though God’s love for His creation is immense and He has made the Way of forgiveness of sins and reconciliation possible and available, it is up to us to acknowledge our need (confess) and accept His free gift (believe and trust in His promise). All too many reject it. It is His promises that are available to those who are His sons and daughters. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 speaks hope and faith to the repentant sinner, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.”
Receive your consolation and comfort now in this life, but even more so for all of eternity. And when you do, share this hope with those closest to you so that they may have this full assurance and you will know, when one of you passes, that you will surely be reunited in Heaven. May God speak to your heart, your innermost being.