Lonely, desperate, sorrowful, confused, hurt, overwhelmed…
One can only imagine what the first disciples of Jesus must have felt following His crucifixion. He was their world, and their source of happiness and hope. They spent years following Him, and devoted their lives to His teaching. He fulfilled them in a way no earthly person could. Then, they were forced to stand and watch as He died in the cruelest of ways. The man who had filled them with such courage and faith was gone.
In many ways, those who have lost a loved one can empathize with the first followers of Christ. When we lose someone, the world around us seems to tilt. Reality is permanently changed. Just as Jesus was a center of hope and security for those who followed Him, the people we hold close to us in our lives also provide us with an element of security and love. The earthly separation of death may feel like an end to that cherished relationship.
However, as the followers of Christ discovered, and as we now know, death is not the end.
On Good Friday when Mary, the Apostles, and the rest of Jesus’ disciples were in their deepest and most sorrowful mourning, God was already executing His master plan. In just three short days they would all realize that Christ was not dead, but alive. Death was not the final destination, but rather a stop along the way to greater salvation. Viewing death as a journey, not an endpoint, can help us who are grieving understand God’s intentions. This doesn’t mean that the separation isn’t painful, but we can all take comfort in knowing that God calls us all to be reunited in His eternal kingdom.
In the meantime, it’s important for those of us here on earth to move forward with our lives. When Christ ascended into Heaven, it would have been easy for the Apostles to simply pack up and go home to their wives and children. It would have been easy for those early followers of Christ to go back to their former ways and push away those memories and teachings of Christ. Luckily for us, they didn’t. Instead, the Apostles and disciples of Christ embraced their new reality. They found new ways to spread God’s good news, and found strength within themselves and the Holy Spirit to continue with their lives.
During this Easter season, reflect on your own grief journey. Are you embracing this new journey?
Post written by Katie Karpinski