Funerals are a time to commemorate, to look back with love and thankfulness, and to grieve alongside those who are also hurting over the earthly loss of a loved one. It is a time to comfort one another and to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). But what about those deaths in our lives for which we don’t have a funeral? What about those seasons of life when all feels shattered and broken and yet you are unable to share with friends and family or have a moment to say “goodbye”?
Over the past several years, as the Lord brings me to places of a death of some kind, my prayers have often looked like this:
“Lord, I feel like I’m dying. So I join You in Your sufferings as You know in the feebleness of my heart I know not what else to do.”
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. | Psalm 116:15
Our Lord Cares
God calls the physical death of His saints “precious” and I believe that we can apply this principle to those spiritual deaths we go through. The Bible gives numerous references to how we are to die to ourselves, to the flesh, and the principle of death before new life breaks through (for examples, see John 12:24, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 5:24, and Romans 6:11).
Sometimes as we are dying to ourselves in whatever way Christ calls us to do, it can feel like a literal death. Saying “no” or “goodbye” to things that God is asking us to leave with Him is easier said than done. To my great shame, even SINS in my life have been so dear to me that the process of sanctification and the Holy Spirit stripping them away from me has been excruciating at times. And in all of this, no one else knows.
Some of the hardest deaths are to those things that would be considered “good” and that you can’t necessarily explain to other people. These include things like giving up a dream job you’ve always wanted because you know God is calling you to do so or allowing God to shut the door to a romantic relationship that means so much to you and may have even given you much joy.
Our Lord Understands and Is Worthy
In every sort of death, it is worth it, because Jesus is worth it. These deaths will give way to a birth of something better: new intimacy and closeness with Christ. He suffered once for all for us and He will give us the ability to walk through this as only He can.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. | 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
The truth of God’s Word is that we as Christians have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who truly understands pain, grief, and bearing things no one else knows. Therefore, we have the very best One to turn to with our uncelebrated deaths (Hebrews 4:14-15). These things are producing in us a longing for so much more than what the naked eye can see. This longing is for more of Christ, less of us.
I want to encourage you to spill your heart out to the Lord, let yourself be comforted by His Word, and believe that He means what He says in that this death is precious to Him. Just because there is no tomb marker or eulogy, this death is no less real. But in Christ, we have the hope of life and coming joy in and through these times.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. | Psalm 30:5