[My sweet pal Annie wrote this for me a couple of weeks back, on the anniversary of my dad's death. I'm hopeful it will minister to you as much as it ministered to me.]
Every day is broken.
But today feels broken.
I share this dark and broken day with a very close friend of mine. Three years ago today, her dad passed away on my dad’s birthday. This day will forever link our hearts together. Every year, this day comes and I’m doubly broken. I’m broken for the pain she must relive every year on this haunting day. I’m broken for another year that my dad’s birthday won’t be celebrated.
It’s been said that misery loves company, but I can honestly say this is not a day that I look forward to commiserating with a friend over the loss of our dads. However, it is a day that God has providentially joined us together to help one another remember true things.
1)There is hope for our brokenness.
1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We are surrounded by brokenness. But because of the truth that we have “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” we can find purpose in our brokenness. Every shattered piece of our lives points us to this reminder – this world is indeed broken, but God in his great mercy has given us a great and powerful Redeemer in His Son.
The lack we feel from the absence of our father’s is a reminder that we have a Father in heaven who loves us and sent His son for us.
The emptiness these calendar days bring remind us that there is fullness of joy found in Jesus.
The loneliness that comes with loss reminds us that Jesus has promised us that He will never leave or forsake us.
2) There is hope in the midst of grief.
Scripture does not hold back what is coming to those who believe. The pages of the gospels and epistles are filled with Jesus and the apostles reminding us how to stand firm in the face of persecution, suffering, and the testing of our faith. We are not and will not be exempt from the pains of brokenness. We are promised to face suffering. But we are also promised that in light of the eternity that awaits us, it will be but light and momentary affliction.
Paul tells us that we are to encourage one another with the truth that we don’t have to grieve as one who does not have hope (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Because we believe in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection we have the guarantee to grieve as one who has hope that in the end, all will be made right. We can trust that God is using every drop of pain and grief we experience to remind us that we have hope in the day where there will be no more tears.
3) There is hope in community.
It was nothing short of the kindness of God to give me a friend, co-worker, and partner in the faith to walk through these very long 3 years of grief. We lost our dads within 1 month and 4 days of one another. Grief has a way of making you lose your balance, forget your hope, underestimate the power of the word of God and the works of Jesus. This sadness has a way of swallowing you up and isolating you and taunting you with thoughts that no one else gets it.
But this I know, God gave me friends and family who get it. There is hope found in a community of people who point one another to Jesus during the darkest days and through the shadowiest of valleys. There is hope found in friends bearing one another’s burdens. There is hope found in friends walking the very long, never ending roads of grief together. There is an anchor of hope found in us reminding one another that one day all the pain and sadness will end and we will spend an eternity basking in the glory of our hope.