Over the past 40 + years of ministry, I’ve had more than a few difficult funerals. Some were conducted for those families who had suffered the unexpected loss of a father or mother. Others grieved the loss of a close friend, fellow worker or neighbor. But, by far the deepest emotional wounds have always been suffered by those parents whose child has died.
Regardless of the child’s age or the circumstances surrounding their death, consolation for these suffering families did not come easy and always seemed wholly inadequate and often out of place. ‘It’s not supposed to be this way’, the parents lament. ‘Children outlive their parents, don’t they?’. ‘Why did this have to happen’ or ‘why wasn’t it me instead of them’ were questions frequently voiced by the sorrowing families. In most cases, though, the only thing that would come out of their broken hearts was tears.
Such is the grief suffered by the parents and family of Michael Brown. Too soon, the days allotted for him by his Creator came to an end. Abrupt, unexpected, unplanned and grimly irreversible were the events marking the waning moments of his earthly life. Like the last few grains of sand rapidly trickling out of the top half of an hour glass, Michael’s life first flickered and then fleeted away. And the stark reality of the truth of God’s words became clear: ‘Why, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes’. James 4:14.
These words, like so many that I have attempted to share, may do little to assuage the biting pain of sorrow. But, they can act as a catalyst that prompts us to respond in redemptive ways as we share in the national awareness of this tragic loss.
First, we can PRAY. Only God knows the true depth of sorrow, so He alone knows the full extent of comfort that is needed.
Second, we can SHARE. God has written much that can help heal a broken heart. Look for ways to point to the Savior who ALONE can truly ‘…bind up the brokenhearted…’.
Third, we can LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS. The fabric of Michael’s family’s life has been torn and tattered by his death, as the life of Darren Wilson’s family has been forever disruptively altered by this event. But, the national debate about racism that has been sparked by emphasizing the skin color of Micheal and Darren has and will do little to help heal the hurt. However, a genuine love that is expressed in dependable ways can. But only if it is God’s type of love that we express: ‘an energetic and beneficial good will that stops at nothing for the good of the beloved object’.
O how different the tragic events of August 9, 2014 would have been if EVERYONE would have been expressing God’s type of love! And O how different today would be if I expressed that type of love to EVERYONE around me.
This IS the type of love that God poured out on us when He sent Jesus into this broken world. Jesus didn’t come to run for Caesar. He didn’t come to take over the Sanhedrin. He didn’t come to start businesses. He didn’t come to make a public stock offering.
He came to seek and save that which was lost and give His life as an atoning sacrifice for those who would be saved. He did not come to be served, but to serve.
Especially at this season, let’s be a people who ask Jesus to love His type of love through us, allowing Him to use us to bring healing to fractured lives around us. And let’s begin TODAY!