There are times in life when it can be quite hard to get your head around things. And I guess it will always be like that because none of us will ever completely understand why certain things happen. Take Christmas for example. We had a visitor to the house who was here for a couple of weeks. It was my owner’s brother, and I really bonded with him! In fact, I spent the best part of Christmas sitting on his shoulder and joining in whatever he was doing. But then one morning he suddenly said “Goodbye” and totally disappeared. And it left me feeling rather sad. Why had he gone, and where had he gone to?
My owner also found himself asking similar questions because a very good friend of his passed away on Boxing Day. A friend who left this world far too young. Matt had been battling an aggressive form of cancer for the last couple of years. Prior to that, he’d been the life and soul of the party amongst a special group of friends. Before Covid came along, they’d all meet up on a Friday night and had become like a band of brothers and sisters. Everyone formed a unique part of this “put-together” family and so Matt’s passing felt just like a close family bereavement.
But a week after his passing, something very wonderful happened. Every one of Matt’s special Friday-night friends came together for an impromptu “gathering” in his local village church. It was overcast outside and at first the church seemed very dark. But then, one by one, each of Matt’s special friends went up to the alter to light a candle for him. Before long, a wonderful warm glow surrounded a photo of Matt dressed as an angel. (Several years ago, he’d taken part in a Christmas sketch in this very same church). Some gentle thoughts and reflections followed as all the while, that image of Matt as an angel looked out over everyone present. It was beyond powerful. It was a spiritual experience in its purest form.
There is so much that we will never understand. Why did Matt have to depart this Earth so soon, leaving behind his wife and family? Why him rather than someone else? Why do any of us have to experience loss and bereavement or suffering and pain? And the simple answer to these questions is that we simply don’t know. And maybe we don’t need to know. Because everyone at that gathering learnt so much more….
When those candle flames came together, there was suddenly glowing light where there had previously been darkness. The bonds of love between Matt and everybody else remained as strong as ever. For love can never be destroyed by death, as Jesus proved to us all on the cross. And for a few precious moments, this gathering of friends sensed the spiritual life which awaits us all after our bodies crumple and die.
So we don’t need to become too bogged down by the “why’s” and “where’s” of our worldly existence. Far better for us to know that things will ultimately turn out well. So although I’ll miss my owner’s brother, I can now focus more on my owner himself. And despite the great sadness at the passing of Matt, his friends can now show their love and kindness by focussing on his wife and family. Until the day comes when everyone’s reunited.
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my Salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2).
“My home is in Heaven. I’m just travelling through this world.” (BillyGraham: 1918-2018: American evangelist).
“There are no crown-wearers in Heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.” (Charles Spurgeon: 1834-1892: English Baptist preacher).
“God never said that the journey would be easy. But he did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.” (Max Lucado: 1955-Present: American author and pastor).