Humans are on a journey called life. It is full of change, and we are wise to realize and accept that fact. If we don’t accept that change is inevitable, we get stuck, and become unhealthy and unproductive people. In fact, we can become heartsick if we do not accept change.
Christians ought to realize this as much, if not more, than any people group. The Bible declares to us that this world is not our home, therefore, we realize that someday we will die, and go to our heavenly home. (See Philippians 3:20)
For many of us, this reality is all too real, and all too painful, as we just experienced the death of our friend Petey Kim. His passing was especially shocking to our emotional systems, because he was only 36, and died suddenly. Not only that, but he was so full of life, and then suddenly, he was gone.
We who believe the Bible, also believe that Petey is alive with Jesus. Nevertheless, we suffer loss here, and that is what I wish to address. Here’s my story.
When I received the word that Petey was “down”, I had a strong sense that he had gone to be with God. As the next few hours played out, it was confirmed that Petey had departed from this life, and had moved on to the next.
My experience was to first “take care of business”, but then I moved on to grief. It was deep grief. For two days I felt as though I had been given a shot of Novocaine that numbed me from head to toe. I stayed up late looking at pictures online, reading people’s memories, etc. The sorrow was felt deeply in my body. I know that many of you experienced the same thing.
After two days, and through a set of circumstances that took place, God spoke to me strongly. It was as if God said, “Bill, I have given you two days to weep, mourn, and experience this sorrow. You have had two days of which I have asked very little of you, but it is time to ‘turn the corner’. It is time to gather yourself in Me, receive my strength, and prepare to minister to the many that are still grieving”.
God had indeed given me two days where I was away from the public, and dealing only with a few things, but the time had come to “turn the corner”. By God’s grace, I accepted that ‘word’, and re-focused. It may sound harsh and unloving to some, but I “had a job to do”. My time for deep, uninterrupted grieving was to come to an end.
Moving forward from deep grief to a “normal” life does not dishonor the memory of my friend and comrade in ministry. He and I and many of you agreed to follow Jesus, and so we are called to move forward. We still feel grief, we still cry, we still laugh when we think of Petey’s laugh. We experienced a very special season of life with a very special saint of God. Now it is time for me to reflect upon all the ways that God used Petey in my life, and to be a better man, and to follow Jesus more closely. That time will also come for you, if it hasn’t already.
We take away from the people God brings into our lives. We learn from them, we enjoy them while they are here, and then we let them go.
Sadly, I have seen some who have never accepted the fact that life is full of change. Some experience sorrow, and for some reason, never move forward in life. There is an interesting verse that deals with this truth.
Psalm 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted.
We have seen people that never seem to recover from great loss, and yet the Bible tells us that this life is but a vapor, and if our life is but a vapor, then the seasons of our lives are less than vapors. The seasons of our lives are to be lived out fully, to be enjoyed, to be maximized, but then they are to be released, that we may move forward in life, and eventually, may enter into the presence of God.
Dear fellows pilgrims, we have a home in the heavens, eternal, not made by hands, but made by God. This life is a journey towards a destination. May we live for Jesus well. May we realize that the journey is not the destination, but the journey indeed has much beauty in it…and if the journey has beauty, imagine the beauty yet to be discovered when we arrive at “eternity’s shore”.
Until then, receive the words of God through Solomon…
1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8 A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.