“I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.” (Psalm 31:10 NLT)
Grief can be a debilitating disease of the soul. While grief can be healthy and helpful, it can also drive us to a destructive self-analysis that can be crippling. If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time you likely know that God has given me a heart for my neighbors.
A few weeks ago, I put another “note” on each door in my neighborhood, the essence of which said: “Jesus is the issue with which we must come to terms. To miss Jesus is to miss eternal life – in this life and the next.” I included my name, phone, and email address and asked anyone with questions or concerns to please contact me.
No one has responded, but a young couple, whom my wife and I have grown to love, came to dinner with us a short time before I passed out the note. It was a night of endless chatter about their work, their health, and on and on, but I was frustrated because I had no opportunity to share what the Lord had given me with them.
Yesterday, I learned that one of them had died of the cancer we knew he had, but didn’t expect it to take him so soon. So, as I write today I’m enveloped by a deep sadness. The “Why” questions are bombarding me, coupled with the obvious concern – did anything I write or say to him make any difference in the closing moments of his young life?
Will he be eternally separated from God because I was too lax in my pursuit of his soul? The answer, of course, is no. Where he is spending eternity is based on the decision he made, nothing more, nothing less. However, He died on my watch. Was there something I could have said or done that may have influenced him to choose Christ? Even his partner urged him to speak with me, but to no avail.
As I write I’m asking the Lord to help me make sense of what has happened, and to teach me what I can do to never feel this way again. On the one hand, I’m grieving the loss of a friend whom I loved and whose company I enjoyed. But, on the other hand, I’m wallowing in my own guilt and shame for having let him slip into eternity without knowing whether or not at some point, maybe in the closing moments of his life, He had an encounter with Jesus.
Why do I feel this way? Because we are eternal beings enmeshed in the minutia of existence on this planet. Virtually everything we see, feel, hear, touch, or taste during our life on earth points us to the temporal, that which will not last. Yet, it’s to that we sell our soul! But why?
Why can’t we see the shallowness and frailty of this world-focused existence? Why must we put off the only thing in this life that really matters? Could it be we’re so entangled in selfishness we’re literally blinded to the light of life found only in Jesus? Can we, as Jesus followers, be so concerned about ourselves and what people will think of us, that it prevents us from sharing the only hope for a great life to come?
Two things the Lord is teaching me. One is, God can be trusted regardless of the circumstance. And two, I (we) can’t let ANYTHING keep us from sharing His love every opportunity we have, not only with our “lives,” but with our lips.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed ☹
2 thoughts on “A Deep Sadness”
Ed, I am sorry to hear of the loss of this young neighbor of yours. And, I pray there will be a conversation with his partner that he had reconciled his eternal salvation in Christ before he departed this earth. I also pray, as you travel this journey of grief, that our Father will comfort and be present with you, meeting you exactly where you are, my brother.
Thank you, dear brother. Your words bring insight and comfort to my weary soul. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness and your prayers.