When you’re blessed to know and love someone, it’s great ….. but it also generally comes with some real pain. Yet the alternative is even worse. C.S. Lewis describes it this way.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)
When you lose someone you love, it comes with real pain. The loss can be devastating. Probably most if not all of us have experienced this to some degree … the loss of a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend. The pain can come in different sizes and shapes depending on the circumstances. It can vary in intensity. While usually dissipating over time, it never leaves completely.
It seems like some people get more than their fair share of this pain. Some of the losses seem to be worse than others… the untimely death, the loss of a child, the awful death surrounded by evil…. we see some of this in the news on a daily basis…. terrible situations almost too awful to even think about.
Death was never part of God’s plan. Death is awful. Jesus wept over the death of his friend Lazarus. Jesus came to conquer death. The scripture is clear about God conquering death. Here’s just a few:
· Isaiah tells us that “He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces.” (Is.25:8)
· “but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Tim. 1:10)
· “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)
· “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” (1Cor. 15:25)
Jesus has conquered death, but the reality of this is still unfolding. In heaven there will no longer be any death, nor fear of death. Each day will be better than the previous one…no more tears or sorrow. The pain that comes with loving will be gone. Reuniting with loved ones will be beyond imagination. For those who have placed their lot with Christ, all will be well.
Walt and Joanne Quense placed their lot with Christ and experienced his love and salvation…. the promise of eternal life in heaven. Since the day Walt died on September 17, 2020, Joanne was counting the days until she would join him. She would say “I can’t understand why God has not taken me home…I’m ready.” Well, a few days ago on July 11, 2022 she was ready and went home. She went home to God. Today, after a wonderful sendoff by the Church at her funeral mass, she will be buried next to her beloved husband.
Despite the sorrow and loss for her family and friends, the pain of her death will be lost in the joy of a life well lived and the expectation that she is now really living the life God has been preparing for her over these almost 92 years. Well done Joanne, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. (Mt. 25:21) And that is very good news.