Is it possible to “move on” after a loved one has died? How are Christians supposed to grieve? Are they supposed to pretend that they aren’t missing the one they loved? Are they less of a Christian if they continue to grieve weeks, months, or years after a loved one dies?
I think we grieve because we miss the person. It kind of feels like they are on a long trip but it’s a trip where they will never come back—you will never see them again. You will never see the smile on their face or hear the excitement in their voice as you tell them about the great thing that happened to you… they will not be there to tell you that everything will be fine if you have a bad day… and they will not be there to hug you when you need it.
Certain smells, sounds, or images remind us of them. A smell of a certain food will remind us of a time when they had a meal with us, or we see a certain movie or TV commercial and think back to when we saw it with them. It brings back happy memories, but then we realize that they are gone and then our heart aches.
I don’t think we ever get to the point where we don’t feel a sense of loss. As Christians we struggle with grieving properly because we want to look like strong believers who are happy that the loved one is in heaven (and we truly are happy about that), but there is an emptiness that longs for the person to be in our presence. So how are we supposed to “move on”?
I think of Hebrews 12:1, “since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith… let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” We go on because our loved one is watching and cheering for us from heaven, so we continue with life as living testimonies of Christ. Will we continue to feel sad? Yes, but God will help us—“the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness… the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying” (Romans 8:26-27). So to honor the one that we loved, we must, “Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24)!
Let First Thessalonians 4:15-17 encourage us: “We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (NLT).
Copyright © 2011 M. Teresa Trascritti