It is very hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it has been two years since Jonathan went home. I cannot describe with words how much I miss him. By God’s design, marriage merges two people into one in all possible aspects of life. With sweet stubbornness, the word privacy begins to disappear among the spouses; everything is shared and known. This is profound, and it is good. So, in physical death, it is not one of two that departs, rather it is the whole half of oneself that is missing, forcing grief to be carried in a different way than other kinds of equally painful losses. I guess that is my way to say I miss my husband every day, every morning that I wake up without him, every night that I go to bed alone, and every in-between-moment that should be shared with him.
But in two years there has been a stronger constant in the middle of all my pain.
I have reflected on this often, what is the purpose of this life if not to one day transition from what we know here to the promised life that will not be interrupted again?
Jesus came to defeat death with death. In Him, we actually live for the day we die. All that we say and do should be shaped by this hope. The hope of closing our eyes here and opening them to His perfect presence, to the joy that we were originally created for.
All the beautiful things in life are intended to reflect the beauty of their creator. Death is painful because it temporarily interrupts that beauty. Grief is appropriate. But we have to remember the whole point of the Gospel; eternal death has been defeated by Christ’s death on the cross to give way to true life, to true beauty and perfection. To a life no longer tainted by sin, pain, or interruption.
How do we live with this tension as we wait? We choose to trust.
We trust because God is faithful. Because He supplies in unexpected generous ways and we lack nothing. Because we are His bride in a marriage that won’t ever be interrupted; He will never forsake us, it is His promise. We trust because we are the body of Christ, and when one (or four) member hurts, the rest of the body cares for her (the four of them) in a way that redefines gratitude as a way of living. We trust because we have a cloud of witnesses that have gone before us declaring God’s goodness until their earthly end (oh how my own husband’s life and words minister to me here!). We trust because death has been defeated and our Hope is anchored firmly.
And we trust because while we wait for our own transition to our eternal home, we have a purpose, a mandate, a job; that this same Hope may be heard, understood and embraced by those who have not heard or have not responded to it yet.
Physical absence is still painful after two years. But eternal Hope does not disappoint.