More about Grief and Death…
Devotional/discussion thought of the day…
12 What return can I make to Yahweh for his generosity to me? 13 I shall take up the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh. 14 I shall fulfil my vows to Yahweh, witnessed by all his people. 15 Costly in Yahweh’s sight is the death of his faithful. 16 I beg you, Yahweh! I am your servant, I am your servant and my mother was your servant; you have undone my fetters. 17 I shall offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of Yahweh. 18 I shall fulfil my vows to Yahweh, witnessed by all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of Yahweh, in your very heart, Jerusalem. Psalm 116:12-19 (NJB)
If you read this blog yesterday, you know that I am dealing with a number of families who have had loved ones pass away. It is a bit sobering, and yet, I am sure God will bring them comfort, through His word, through His presence, even if that comfort, if the revealing of His presence is done through a broken person like me.
This morning, as I looked at my calendar, it is my aunt’s Birthday – my dad’s sister who passed away a few years ago. It reminded me of how grief never completely leaves us in this life, as I thought about their three story (they lived on the first story) in North Andover, and out walks to the little river that few into the Merrimac. Or the Dairy’s ice cream shop that was up at the top of their street, and across the busy thoroughfare. (awesome pistachio ice cream there – but I always had it in a cup because if I didn’t – it would be all over the place) Or later, her house in Salem….
Melancholy accompanies the return of the grief – and missing what we didn’t realize we had.
But then, to come across the passage above – which is both a foreshadowing of Jesus, and yet a comfort for us as well. For God doesn’t take pleasure in our death, It costs Him, it cost Him dearly, for indeed His only Son died that death wouldn’t be our end.
That is what the rest of that passage is about the Son of the maidservant, who would fulfill His vows and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, as sacrifice of his own life.
I used the specific translation, the New Jerusalem Bible here for a reason. Rather than replace the Name of God, (as is the tradition of many translations) with LORD in all caps, the NJB uses the Name God gives us to call on Him, the Name He gave first to Moses. A personal Name, not just a title (Lord) or a descriptive noun (God, Deity), but the Name.
Especially in times of great grief, this brings me great comfort, to know that YHWH wants us to call on Him, wants us to know He is present, wants us to know He is there to comfort us. As well, that the people who mean so much to Him, our loss is not overlooked, and it matters to Him as much as us. Even more, as we consider what He has done, to rob that loss of any eternal significance. For those who believe and are baptised, having died with Him, shall certainly rise….
Knowing that, showing these promises, showing them how God is here, as we dwell in His presence…. that makes a difference, that leave us, realizing as well, His peace.
Lord, You’ve had great mercy on us!