Yesterday would have been my sister’s 51st birthday. For me, birthdays stir the residue of grief more than the anniversary of a beloved’s death. Change of seasons affect me the same way. So, as summer fades into fall, I find myself missing my sister and my mother. A small ache resides in me. Nothing serious. God has healed the deep wounds. But the ache remains.
I know the cost of death on this side of heaven.
The other day I copied down Psalm 116: 4-6 according to the instructions for the Bible study I am teaching. I then searched for a Bible to actually read from rather than the typed assignment. Bibles tend to grow legs and walk off in my house, so on this particular day, I picked up the only Bible on the coffee table in front of me, my Complete Jewish Bible. I read:
But I called on the name of Adonai:
“Please, Adonai! Save me!”
Adonai is merciful and righteous;
yes, our God is compassionate,
Adonai preserves the thoughtless;
when I was brought low, He saved me (v. 4-6).
I couldn’t stop at the few verses for the assignment, something urged me to continue reading, and this is what I found:
….From Adonai’s point of view, the death of those faithful to Him is costly (v. 15).
I was shocked.
Right smack in the middle of grieving, God (Adonai) met me. He showed me that her death hurt Him also. Her death was not only costly to me, but it also left a hole on this earth where she did work for His Kingdom. Her death was costly to God. The death of all His children is costly to Him because their work can no longer continue in this realm.
I was strangely warmed. Yet the urge to read on continued.
…Oh, Adonai! I am your slave;
I am your slave, the son of your slave girl;
you have removed my fetters….
As I read, I realized that this was the scripture God had given me for my mother’s funeral. We knew that in her death, the chains of Alzheimer’s (which had taken her mind, stiffened her body, and silenced her)were removed. In death, she was free.
This Psalm now held significance for two of my loved ones and for me. I am His slave, yet I am free. My ache had been replaced with knowledge of His Presence and peace. And the chains of grief were loosed again.
What Scriptures have been a source of strength and peace for you?
Today’s verse: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me to quiet waters; He restores my soul. He guides me on the paths of righteousness for His name sake (Psalm 23:1-3).