"Loss and Comfort"
You may recall our beagle Sparrow passed away in January. We miss her every day, and even as we make plans to welcome another beagle into our home after a proper time of grieving for our sweetheart, we know that there will never be a day when Sparrow's presence - and her heart - is not missed.
"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven" (Acts 1:9-11).
"Why stand ye gazing?" Meaning no disrespect to the angels and their inquiry, the answer always seems obvious when I read the passage. The Lord Jesus Christ left disciples and others who had experienced the love of God in an earthly, human measure beyond anything anybody else had ever, or ever will know.
"Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1).
At Pentecost, the Lord Jesus would return to His beloved through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who spiritually reveals Christ in all who believe. But never in their lifetimes would they again see Him with their eyes, hear Him with the ears, and touch Him with their hands. Why could they not take their eyes off Him? Because their hearts broke as He ascended upward and away from them, indeed, as the manifested love of God departed. No human hearts before or since ever said farewell to such a One who had loved them with a pristine perfection of devotion, affection, dedication to their best interests and well being.
None of us will leave this planet with hearts completely intact. Whether through the separation of distance or death, we will lose loved ones. The grief that accompanies the remembrance or anticipation of such heartbreak can bring even the strongest among us to their knees. This constitutes the absolutely proper response to such loss. God made us as relational beings. To miss people (or pups) who leave us denotes the inward reality of who and what our Heavenly Father would have us to be as the vessels of His love (Romans 5:5). Of course, something else must be done other than standing gazing into Heaven. We must seek and expect the comfort of God, realizing His promise of balm to our hearts, and His strength to carry on "as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10). We will not be disappointed, and we will honor Him as we affirm His comfort in our sadness. I think of this when I remember and miss Sparrow, and ever more, when I remember disciples of long ago whose hearts broke as the One who so perfectly and gloriously loved them unto the end bade them farewell.
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation."
(II Corinthians 1:3-4)
Weekly Memory Verse
"He shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied."