View from the Valley
I spent much of my time during this last week in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” (Psalm 23:4). I had the high honor of being alongside two grieving families: one was mourning the loss of a loved one while the other was fighting for life against all odds. Experiences like these are clarifying. Things that are temporal and superficial vanish. Only that which is real remains visible in the most minimalistic scene. I’d like to share with you three of my convictions from this place.
Jesus is Real
When death calls, the only real hope that can be found is in the only one who has overcome death. His name is Jesus. He is the comfort of the believer. And he is the discomfort of the unbeliever. He is alive and real and present. And in the presence of death, he is inescapably accepted or rejected.
People are Important
The real value of a life can only be accurately measured when it’s finally over. True riches are counted in relationships. Family and friends file into memorial services and flood to hospital waiting rooms. Work stops, pleasures flee, fame fades, power is lost and money buys nothing. All that remains are the tears, embraces, memories and words of those who love and have been loved.
Grief is Good
Grief over death comes from God. We know this because Jesus, the God-man, grieved the death of his friend, Lazarus. Even equipped with the knowledge that he was soon going to raise Lazarus from the dead, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Death is tragic, ugly and outside of God’s original plan for His creatures. Mourning is healthy and righteous and limited.