Written by Peerapat T, Thailand, originally in Thai
How do you remember a loved one who has passed away? For some, it could be through their daily conversations as they recall fond memories, while for others, it could be through mementos such as photographs.
For me, it’s the latter. My family has a tradition of putting up photographs of family members on the walls of our home. There are two photographs of my great-grandparents on our walls; they were there even before I was born. So even though I have never met them, they’ve become a familiar sight and a part of my childhood.
Naturally, as I grew older, more photographs were added to the collection. Some photographs bring back especially painful memories. One is that of my elder brother, who was badly injured in a motorcycle accident. I had just come to know the Lord then, and had gathered with my church members to pray for him. After two rounds of brain surgery, however, his condition did not improve, and he passed away shortly after.
Another photograph is of my grandmother who died from diabetes. But the one that affected me the most is that of my dad. One day, he had a heart attack and passed away within minutes. His sudden and unexpected passing left a deep sense of loss in my heart.
Recalling their passing has got me thinking: Why do we face death? We die because it is a consequence of our rebellion against God—all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Some of us deal with death by trying to avoid thinking about it altogether, or by living as if we would never die. But these approaches do not take away the inevitability and impending reality of death. Even our belief in God does not insure us against death or the experience of losing our loved ones.
However, what’s different for us as Christians is that we have hope in the face of death because of the precious gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross (Hebrews 9:27-28). We can take comfort in knowing that God walks through the dark valleys of death and loss with us.
Indeed, God comforted me greatly through His Word during my moments of grief and loss. One verse that spoke to me during an especially sorrowful moment was this, “Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?” (Psalms 56:8) The realization that God knew exactly how I felt brought me to tears and I was deeply comforted.
Having fellow believers pray for me also served as a reminder of His love and faithfulness in my life—that He has and will never forsake me in the most difficult of times. It was also an encouragement and testimony to the rest of my family who were not Christians. Truly, God’s love shines so bright through His people in these dark moments and brings about the healing of every broken heart.
Have you experienced a loss recently? Take heart, and remember that God is with you always and never stops loving you. Put your hope in Him and allow Him to be your comfort.