Revelation 21:4 – King James Version
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
I can hardly believe that today, April 7th, marks 4 years since I received a call that my dad had passed out in the parking lot of the apartment complex he lived in with my mom. I was at work and my brother, Mike, called and told me to get there – and make it fast!
Before I could get there, my dad was gone and all I could do was cry in unbelievable pain and helplessness! As he lay in that hospital bed before they moved him, I remember thinking as I looked at him that was this all there was to this life? Why did he have to die? Why do we all suffer so much? and why could I not just lay hands on him and ask my Jesus to raise him back up? Did I not have the faith that could move a mountain?
My first real touch with a death very close to me was when my friend, Mervin, died when we were 16. The next year, my beloved grandmother, Beulah, passed away as well. To be honest, I have not once visited their graves since the day of the funerals. I loved them with all my heart but just never went back before I left the state of New York for the hills of North Carolina.
I was younger then and didn’t understand at all why people would continually trek out to the cemetery on various dates. I even scoffed to myself at times and called these visits so foolish. The dead don’t even know you are there, so why bother with flowers they can’t see or other tokens? I wholeheartedly believe that you should tell people that you love them now, when they can hear it. Don’t wait until they are gone to express what you feel!
My feelings of not understanding why people visit the cemetery came to an end on April 7, 2008. When we laid my dad to rest a few days later, I memorized the section and exact plot where he is buried. On that day, I knew I would be back. And so the visits began.
I don’t go every week or month, but on days when I want to feel especially close to him. His birthday was March 20th and somehow my car pointed in that direction when I left class that day. I found a blown away flower from someone else and laid it on the headstone. As the tears fell, I whispered simply, “I miss you, Daddy”!!! Then, I took time in the peace and silence beside that cemetery plot to talk to my Lord and Savior.
Jesus understood about sickness and death very well. He healed all manner of illnesses and raised many from the dead. When he heard that his beloved Lazarus was sick, he responded by saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” (John 11:4, KJV) Those around Him did not understand how he could be so calm and make that statement, especially when the news came that Lazarus had indeed died. But Jesus only said let’s go, so that I may wake him out of his sleep. (Read the whole story again in this chapter, you will get new insights!!)
When He arrived and saw the unbelief of the people, He cried. My Savior actually stood there and cried!! I know that He understands me when I feel overwhelmed and confused. He knows what it feels like to be so misunderstood that all you can do is cry! Even His tears were misunderstood!
I am pretty sure that all of us, at some time or another, have been faced with the loss of someone we loved intensely. Someone you didn’t think you could actually take another breath without. Yet, by the grace of God, you are still here! And being still here, we have memories and the love remains with us that we had for the ones we lost.
I understand now that it’s that love that motivates a person to go visit that cemetery plot, place small tokens there and speak to that person as if they could hear the love.
I further understand that if that person died with their hearts and minds made up that Jesus was their personal Savior, there is that blessed hope that ensures us that we will see them again. The promise we have in the scripture in Revelation that tell us that our God will personally wipe all tears away from our eyes.
It’s appropriate that this is Easter weekend. As I reflect on what Jesus did for me and that not only did He die but He rose!!! It’s simply mind-blowing!! He rose up out of that grave!! Because He died and rose, conquering death forever, I have hope! My faith allows me to envision the day when I will see my daddy again.
Although I am sad because I miss my dad, I am excited to know that this is not the end. Always, always, my hope is built on nothing less than His Blood and righteousness. On my own, I can do nothing. But my faith allows me to see the impossible and believe the incomprehensible!
I encourage you today that despite your circumstance, Jesus is right there with you. Your sickness, your finances, your depression, your loneliness, whatever it is, it’s going to be all right. We must believe once and for all that our issues are not about hurting us but are opportunities for God to get the glory. We must choose every day to not fall into self-pity and regret.
We must choose to complete each day with love in our hearts and a purpose to live our best lives ever. We must secure a firm foundation in Jesus who will give us life everlasting!
As much as I miss my Mervin, my grandmother, my dad, and many others – I truly want to see my Daddy of all daddies – Jesus!!!! I want to have Him personally wipe my tears away and tell me all that I went through is over! I want Him to lead me to my dad and then, surrounded by all our loved ones, we walk with Jesus into that everlasting rest.
That is the hope that Easter brings and I am smiling today through the tears!
Even so, come Lord Jesus!!
I Will Live Victoriously Until He Calls Me Home!!!!!