While checking with old acquaintances, I discovered an obituary of a person I had known for more than a decade who died ia few days ago in the Kansas town i served 15 years ago. Not that I am getting too nostalgic, because many have died throughout this pandemic, especially the elderly and the ill. It is odd when you know someone, know that they were healthy and active, and suddenly they are gone like that. As though someone blew a bus-sized hole in life that matched their outline. And like a blast, other things get sucked out through that hole, including parts of you. 

Looking at pictures does not do it. Reading old letters or even an actual document they produced does not do it. Medicine, science, positive thinking--none of that stuff cuts it when you lose someone close to you or someone with whom you shared life. When the funeral is termed a celebration of life, that is one of the hollowest descriptions of a person's existence now ended on this side of heaven. You cannot fool me; When they are gone, they are truly gone forever--on this side of heaven, that is.

And I would not want them back if they would have to go through it all over again. I prefer the reality presented by John the Apostle:

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

With this as your future, why look back? With this as the reality that is guaranteed by the Christ through His death and resurrection, why worry about what was not done or done--it will all be made new, including us in Christ. 

So. go ahead, grieve and mourn, but not as ones without hope. Paul tells the Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

When you remember your loved ones and friends who are believers in Christ Jesus, remember that you will see them again, as Christ will include all those in Him in a new life, physical and eternal, in new bodies that will not be subject to death or anything because of sin. You have that waiting for you. God be with you and comfort you always.