This week as I have been reflecting on the loss of my dear mom, I've had occasion to remember the words that I have shared with so many grief-stricken families.
You see, each time I officiate a funeral, I say the following words in the sermon:
"Death for the Christian is a bitter-sweet experience. It is sorrow mixed with joy. There is the emptiness in the day to day absence of someone who is never coming home again; There is the pain of a relationship, which is broken, and in this life will never be mended. And so we mourn."
And then I say:
"But there is also comfort in knowing that because of Jesus Christ the one we mourn has passed from dreaded death into everlasting life; comfort in being sure that healing is now complete and there is no more sickness, pain or fear..."
There have been times when I've said the words, "healing is now complete," and I've looked down at a grieving family to see them nodding and smiling through their tears.
Now I understand more fully how they felt.
I've come to realize after all of these years that God's idea of healing is so much more expansive and mysterious than I could ever imagine.
I prayed for a long time that God would heal my mom. I prayed that God would make her whole, give her strength, keep her with us for just a bit longer.
At last, I began to pray that God would take her and release her--that God would make her healing complete.
As my mom slipped from this life into the next, I felt such incredible loss and emptiness, but I also felt a strong sense of relief--relief that she was made whole, that my prayers for her healing had at last been answered.
Today I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree.“For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think."May you embrace your unknowing and uncertainty over all of the outcomes you have been praying over today. May you surrender those outcomes to God and find hope. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you now and always. Amen.