Our Vintage Church family is grieved by the loss of a dear friend, Edmund Kee. He had been apart of Vintage Church from our beginning in the fall of 2007. The loss of someone, spouse, family or friend, is always hard. But this seems so much tougher when a young, newly married, man who was full of passion and energy dies so unexpectedly. Edmund had also been used by God to have such an impact on so many in the city of New Orleans, which means that there are many grieving.
In this time of grieving God offers several encouragements:
First, He would encourage each of you to grieve. Grieving is a normal God-given emotion, especially after a tragic loss like death. Jesus Christ while living here on earth, lost close friends and family. He grieved the loss of his cousin and friend, John “the Baptizer” [Matthew 14:13-14]. Jesus also grieved upon seeing his close friend, Lazarus, dead [John 11:33-36].
Everyone grieves differently, but there are five main stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. For more on this read: “The Five Stages of Grief.” The grieving process after the loss of a spouse, loved one, & friend can take not only weeks but sometimes months.
For those who will console someone during a time of loss, I’d encourage you that many people don’t necessarily need explanations, but simply your presence in their lives. In the searing pain of loss it is much more important that you are there with them; that you are a steady presence, providing a shoulder to cry on.
Secondly, God would encourage each of you that hope in Christ brings comfort. The Christian hope isn’t in that God will magically wave a wand and just “make everything back to normal.” Unfortunately we currently live in a world broken by the effects of sin, a world that Paul said was groaning like a woman in the pains of childbirth [Romans 8:22]. The reality is that at times this world, with its situations and tragedies, are terrible. Frankly, they suck. But in this, God has provided the gift of hope in Christ that brings comfort. This Christian hope is an expectation founded on God’s promises, promises that are assured and can be trusted because of Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death through His life, death, burial and resurrection.
Hope isn’t that God takes us away from the pain or out of the situation. But instead this hope is the strength and confidence He gives in the midst of the pain or situation to get you through the grief, loss, and pain. This means that no matter how devastating or overwhelming a loss may seem, our God, who is a loving Heavenly Father, has given us hope in Christ. This isn’t that we don’t grieve, but instead that our grieving is a different grieving. If you follow Jesus Christ the grieving is not without hope, but a grieving with hope that eventually bursts forth in joy. As Paul explained, Christ has been resurrected therefore all shall be made alive. [1 Corinthians 15:16-23]
Wherever you are, God encourages you to freely grieve as much as you need and as often as you need to grieve. He understands and wants to give you hope in Christ that brings comfort. This process may not end quickly but is an opportunity for you to grow closer with Jesus, and be made more aware of His love and your hope in Him.
Scripture Passages for Hope:
- 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Romans 5:1-5, John 14:15-31 Psalm 3, 103, 146
Other Articles for Hope:
- “Nothing is Wasted” by Casey Cease
- “Reason for Hope” by Tim Keller