It is in days like today that we trust in the grace of God – not for eternal salvation – but that the hurting in our heart may ease with time.
Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, urges them to grieve but not as those who have no hope. For them, they are broken up at the loss of friends, and family, and mentors – all before Christ’s return. They do not know what to do or what will become of their loved ones who have died. And so Paul, who is often pastoral, reminds them of the God who is in charge of all things, who will come on the last day, and who will lift up those that have been held in death until this very moment. And so we like those from Paul’s time also hurt.
For us, tears are appropriate and maybe even the only way to express our hurt – even better than these words on a page. Pastor Bill took care of so many of us in hospital rooms and in homes, at the communion table, and in countless Bible studies. He was a friend, with a dry sense of humor and warm heart and I personally enjoyed his kind advice as a seasoned pastor and his words of encouragement and appreciation. I will miss those, and him. I am also reminded that this is not the end of Pastor Bill, nor the end of our relationship together. He is held in Christ with all the Saints waiting for that last day when we all will be together again.
And so my prayer is for strength for us all as we mourn. It is for peace in the midst of the hurt and loss, and it is for patience as we wait for the day when we get to be together again. And if you find yourself wandering and struggling – “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” – something Pastor Bill told me many times, even too many to count.