Friday February 13, 2009
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9.
Life is precarious, and facing our own death or that of another is the ultimate challenge. For most of us, death is the one final experience which can make us terrified for it reminds us of our own mortality. For those without some comfort regarding the next life, it is a taboo subject leading to avoidance or even denial of its reality. I recall visiting a funeral home in Vancouver many years ago and the room for viewing those ready for burial was called the “Slumber Room.” I think that says it all!
Even for Christians, death is not an easy transition from this life to the next especially for those left behind, and difficulties in relationships increase the trauma of parting. I wrote briefly a few days ago of a wife in the mission here whose husband’s mental health was deteriorating. We have known her for over a year and the problems go back further than that. About two weeks ago, the situation was so chaotic, she felt she had to leave the home. Yesterday her husband committed suicide.
We cannot know the pain this friend is going through. Apart from the loss, there are the personal recriminations: “what if . . . ?” “If only . . .” that will plague her, whether justified or not. Knowing her, the strength of her faith will eventually carry her through, but the immediate effects of this tragedy will take time to deal with. She has sympathetic friends in the mission who will stand by her, and prayer becomes a basic resource, for her and all of us. But above all, it is the promise that “the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” that will be her greatest reassurance.