‘Do not grieve as those who have no hope’

March 1, 2020
Estate/Pre-planning/Sympathy section and Senior Connections
By Dale Kovar

Phone calls in the middle of the night are rarely a good thing.

Death of a loved one is difficult to deal with. If it’s sudden and unexpected, it’s such a shock. If it’s from a prolonged disease, there’s time to say goodbye, but it’s still tragic.

During the past year, our family experienced the sudden variety, on the heels of a premature birth.

When we hosted all our kids and their families together at a cabin last summer, daughter Chelsea and son-in-law Brian used the opportunity to announce that another family member would be added to our ranks.

We were all excited, and everything was going well until one Saturday night in late October.

I had already stayed up way later than usual watching a World Series game. Linda was attending an event with her sisters and returned home even later.

Then the first call came. Chels and Brian were at the hospital and it was possible labor could begin in the next 24 hours.

About 20 minutes later, another call: a lot was happening and they’d keep us posted.

A few more minutes later: “You better come.”

By the time we got there, Peyton was born at 21 weeks, 3 days, being just nine inches long and 13.3 ounces. Within a few minutes, he died in Brian’s arms.

Our pastor was able to come comfort everyone and pray with us before Sunday services that morning. Then we went about the unpleasant task of letting other family members know.

Later it was back to the hospital where everyone gathered again. The Star Legacy Foundation, a support organization for pregnancy loss, sent a representative – a young mom who had experienced the same thing – for an extended photo shoot.

Part of the grieving – and healing – is the acknowledgement and memories of what was, even as short as it was.

My point, for a newspaper section about death, is coping with death.

My go-to verse for death has become 1st Thessalonians 4 which reads in part “. . . do not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

So what hope is there?

Jesus not only died for our sins; he took his life back, overcoming death through his resurrection.

Scripture promises he will come for us again, at which point we can spend eternity with him, if we haven’t already chose the other option.

That chapter of Thessalonians also describes how the dead believers will be resurrected, and then those who are left will join them to meet the Lord in the air. The hard part is waiting until then – a daily lesson in patience.

When we lose a loved one, even one we only knew for minutes, that is our hope – our only hope. But as long and far off as it may seem, we also know it is certain.

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