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Without the knowledge of our eternal hope, I have no clue how a person handles the loss of a spouse, child or parent. The sorrow and grief brought on by death can be overwhelming even for strong Christians, so it is a mystery to me how anyone handles it without the assurances we have in the Bible of our eternal state.
The sudden loss of a loved one is perhaps the most difficult thing to deal with in this life. When the ability to gracefully grow old and slowly fade away is replaced with the stark reality of someone being here today and gone tomorrow; it is truly an event that radically changes someone and that change is usually not good.
We have an acquaintance whose husband was sent home from the hospital to die due to lung cancer. Because this situation has been festering and brewing for quite some time, the raw emotions attached to the sudden loss of a loved one are missing. Due to having plenty of time to prepare mentally and physically, the spouse is able to function as a wonderful caregiver.
We have another acquaintance who watched in horror last August as his wife, who was driving the car ahead of him, made a left turn in front of a fully loaded dump truck going 70 miles per hour. She was killed instantly and because her husband witnessed the horrific event, he is still devastated six months later. He is finally emerging from his grief, but the process is painful and woefully slow.
None of us know how long our life will be. Most people spend a lifetime trying to prolong their earthly life for they do not believe there is any life worth living after this one. Hundreds of years ago, explorers were trying to find the "fountain of youth" and they still are. People do not want to grow old, get sick, have accidents or anything else that would cut this life short.
Perhaps because of my intense physical battles over the years, I really do not care much if I live another 30 years or another 30 days. This broken down body will one day return to the dust from which it was made and I will be given a new body fashioned like unto the glorious body of the resurrected Christ. Having this hope, I can endure the pain and suffering that comes from dwelling in a less than perfect tabernacle.
We should live each day as a gift from God. We should cherish each time we have to spend with our loved ones as the blessing they are. We should never take for granted anything in this life other than the assurances given to us from God that we have an eternity awaiting us to dwell with our God in paradise. Until then, I pray our hearts can go on singing His praise no matter what happens to us and around us in this life.