When Faith Meets a Funeral

I have been dreading the next two days. The past two days have been filled with memories of my dad and tears shed with family. I have traveled all day and am back in Indiana for my father’s funeral. The next two days hold the visitation time and the actual funeral. I know I stand on the edge of some of the most emotional days of my life.

I approach these days full of faith. I am a devoted follower of Jesus. My father was also a committed believer. I know this is an event that calls on all that we trust as people who place our faith in Christ.

With that said, two passages of Scripture keep coming to mind as I approach these days.

First, in John chapter 11 we have the story of the death of Jesus friend named Lazarus. Jesus reaches the place where they laid him and it says in John 11:35 that “Jesus wept.” Jesus knew the reality of eternity, and yet he was sad at the loss of his friend to the grave.

I have thought that he might have wept because he knew that God did not desire for death to enter the world. Jesus knew that his death was the result of sin corrupting God’s perfect work. Maybe there was some deep theological meaning in his tears. But maybe his tears were more basic in their meaning, and he was simply sad at the loss of his friend.

Second, the Apostle Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica and says in chapter 4 verse 13, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.”

The indication is clear. Grief is fine, but it should not be excessive. Followers of Jesus cling to the hope of eternal life. All is not lost. We know that those who have passed away will be with us for eternity.

For me, the next two days will be filled with the grief that only a funeral can bring. It will also be filled with the hope of eternal life. It may be a sad time, but it is not the end of this story.

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