I have a folder full of half written post from last year. My brain has not been very cooperative. I’ve had so much on my mind and heart that I find myself easily overwhelmed and unable to process it all.
I lost a dog, 7 friends, and had two friends lose children in the past 16 months. So many that it’s felt like I am missing the rapture. But the real rapture won’t be experienced in this slow painful way. It will be in a “twinkling of an eye.”
1 Corinthians 15: 51- 54 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Then” it “will come true.”
For now, death still stings.
I have heard many “cliches” meant for comfort since losing Joel.
One of my least favorites is to look for “a new normal.”
I don’t want what I am experiencing to be “normal.”
My new normal is that at any moment one of my children could be murdered.
That my world can be turned upside down again and again.
That there is an empty chair at the table,
An empty bed.
And an empty place in our hearts.
I don’t want murder to be considered normal.
I don’t want losing 5 or more friends a year to be normal.
And how is labeling living in the wake of death “normal” supposed to help heal my wounded heart?
When you minimalize real pain, it goes under treated and can grow into something much worse. Minimized grief can cause complications such as suppression, guilt, anxiety, anger and depression.
Jesus didn’t come to minimalize our grief. He came to experience it with us, to weep with us, and to give us hope and joy in the midst of it. That is how you heal a wounded heart.
I recently found a word I like better: a New Season.
Season speaks to the temporariness of it all.
Season allows for a season of healing,
Season allows for a much greater season of Heaven.
This life is temporary. It’s a vapor. Here today gone tomorrow.
There is an eternal life that waits ahead where there is no more death, no more mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). Our real pain can be legitimately minimized by the much greater glory it is producing in Heaven. (2 Corinthians 4:17).
A new normal on earth isn’t something I can stake my hope on.
The unspeakable joys of Heaven – that’s a New Normal I can look forward to.
This hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure, reaches through the veil into the inner sanctuary; where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
Joel so enjoyed newness. He loved learning and exploring and discovering new things; whether it was art, music, history, nature, math, science or innovation. Each new day held a sense of wonder for him. He must be overcome with joy in the face of all the beauty and newness of Heaven he is experiencing now.
For now, in this season, on this planet, death still stings.
But I can grieve with hope in the promises of a new season in Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13). I can hope, trust and obey as I am enabled by the One who has gone through suffering before me to our Heavenly Sanctuary.