Faithfulness and Simply Being Close to the Grieving
Recently, I was surrounded by broken hearts that tried to grasp living in this world without our friend. I sat at her funeral feeling entirely confused. One minute she was there and the next minute, she was not. Funerals are a funny thing. They have a way of showing the impact that one life can have. They show us that we are not alone in our grief as we mourn the same life that has passed. At the best celebrations of life, they give us a sweet little inside joke. At this particular one, it was all about her crooked finger, her wisdom, and her sense of humor.
Simply seeing that we are not alone in our grief, moves me.
Related Post: My Prayer for the New Year- Faithfulness
Seeing God’s faithfulness in that He did not allow any of us to feel alone in our grief, has me standing in awe. While God took this precious life from us, He did not leave us alone. He left us with a visible and tangible image that we are not alone. Not only does God continue to comfort all of those who were at the funeral (and those who could not make it), but He showed each and every one of us a face that would understand what we are going through and how all our hearts grieve.
Read: John 19:16-27
There are so many good things that are happening here. The price for our sins is being paid. The price for our freedom is being satisfied. Scripture is being fulfilled. God’s mission for Jesus’ life on earth is completed according to plan.
If you look near the cross, you will find a mother who is breaking. Her sweet baby boy hangs in front of her, dying. I could not even imagine the grief and the shock of this moment, no matter how much she may have been forewarned of what would happen. You will see the sweet relationship between mother and son as Jesus makes eye contact with Mary. He makes provision for her to be taken care of for the rest of her life. He gives her the gift of not grieving alone. He gives her the gift of John the Beloved.
I have often wondered why Jesus left Mary to be taken care of by John the Beloved. Mary did have other children. Here is what I thought of: First, Jesus was her oldest. It would have been His responsibility to see that she was provided for and taken care of. Second, Mary did have other children. James, Jesus’ brother, was one of those children who would later be martyred. Third, Jesus knew that John the Beloved would die of old age. If anyone could take care of Mary for the rest of her life, it was John.
Jesus made sure she was provided for, taken care of, and never alone. That is faithfulness. That is love!
Here are Four Lessons on Faithfulness We Learn from John the Beloved
It is better to walk through hard circumstances together rather than alone. Consider that image of John and Mary standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus addressed them. They stood together. John maybe even had his arm around her in comfort. They stood together in their shock, their grief, their confusion, and their uncertainty. Faithfulness simply means being there and being available, even when the circumstances are uncomfortable.
Related Post: What's Holding You Back- Grief
Being faithful and being available is a ministry. When I consider ministry, I think of setting aside ourselves and prioritizing others. Grief is messy. Ministry is messy. Being faithful is making room for God to come in close. Being faithful is being God’s hands and feet to those who are hurting.
When there are no words to say, being near speaks volumes. When I think of other stories in the Bible on grief, I can’t help but think about Job. He had three friends who just sat with him, without speaking, for seven days. Grief doesn’t always have the right words to lift up and encourage those who are drowning. Sometimes the loudest words are spoken with silence. Simply being near when others are hurting says more than a thousand well-meaning words.
There are times for silence and there are times for words. John the Beloved went on to write books of the Bible. I realize that while He took care of Mary, He didn’t stop saying the name of Jesus. When others are grieving, we might become afraid of speaking the names of those they are grieving. We worry about causing pain to our grieving friend or relative. John didn’t stop talking about Jesus, in fact, he kept on talking about Jesus. He continued on in ministry to Mary, to church, and to the world around him.
When all is said and done, faithfulness is another expression of love. Faithfulness is another way that we can love those around us, especially those who are hurting.