After Her Death

Written by Julie

On July 5, 2022

{Random-ish thoughts/writings after a member of my church family went Home on July 1}

Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

John 11:3-5, 14-15, 21-27, 32-36

I am Mary and Martha, crying to Jesus, perhaps crying at Him. “If You had…” we wouldn’t be here in this grief-filled place. We wouldn’t be missing our sister-in-Christ, a long-time member of our church family.

B unexpectedly died Friday morning, and that night I lay at the feet of Jesus and repeated Martha’s words. “If You had… But I know, even now… I believe…”

I believe He is God. I believe He is good. I believe He is. Even now, even in this.

I am standing at the tomb, waiting to see the fulfillment of His promise. “Your sister-in-Christ shall rise again. She believed in Me, and though she is dead, yet she is alive.” B is alive, truly alive, and one day I shall see.

I am watching Him weep, and I realize, “Oh, how He loved her!” Oh, how He loves me.

“This…will not end in death” (John 11:4, NIV). There will be–is–death, yes, but it’s not the end.

He is the Resurrection and the Life, and He is my Friend–her Friend.

Lord, the ones You love are hurting. Please be here, with us.

***

Jesus died on a Friday. It was a horrible, grief-filled, confusing day.

But today we call it “Good Friday.” Good came out of it.

B died on a Friday. It was (perhaps on a smaller scale) a horrible, grief-filled, confusing day.

Maybe this too will be a “Good Friday” in a way. Good will come out of it, I believe; good has already happened.

***

My Sunday school teacher told us that B died on her (late) mom’s birthday, and he gave us the mental image of Jesus giving her mom a special birthday gift.

And I sit here crying (happy tears, I guess), not necessarily because of the delight of B and her mom, although that is emotional. No, it’s imagining the delight of Jesus that makes me cry.

I like giving gifts, flowers, notes, etc. There’s just something about putting together a bouquet or buying some stuff or making a card, and giving it to the person and watching their reactions; I sometimes wonder if I’m even more delighted than they are!

And I imagine Jesus planning, preparing, getting everything around, rubbing His hands together and grinning and jiggling around in excitement/glee, waiting for that moment, presenting B to her mom, watching their reactions, smiling and laughing, continuing to feel that happy warmth every time He remembers.

For some reason, reminding myself she’s in Heaven and all that didn’t necessarily help me feel better. But imagining Jesus giving her as a birthday gift to her mom? Imagining His joy? That did.

***

I’m in charge of the youth girls’ Bible study this coming Friday. It’s about praise/thanksgiving/gratefulness.

Not long after receiving the news of B’s passing, I thought of the Bible study.

Praise.

Even when death rears its barbed stinger.
Even when you hurt.
Even when things to grieve keep adding up.
Even when you don’t feel like it.

And I don’t. I don’t feel like it. I’ve already been dealing with many emotions, many hard situations, and now this?

But I play music and sing along (at least in my head). I take pictures of the gorgeous sunset the day B died and listen to the neighbor kids screech/laugh as fireworks are set off. I write. I hold my “monkey” and “teddy bear” and “squirt” and “peach,” and I make friends with the “V-twins” and one of them is clingy to me by the end of the night. I laugh. I cry. I pray. I catch lightning bugs with little girls. I watch some fireworks. I do my chores of washing dishes, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. I keep going about normal life.

Perhaps this is my way of worshiping right now.

To keep going. To keep feeling. To keep noticing and clinging to the moments of joy. To keep loving. To keep embracing life.

Life sucks, but life is also good and so is God, so here I am. Still tremblingly, hopefully balancing.

And I’m trying to balance on a tightrope above two yawning pits. I don’t want to let this all drag me down, tear me apart, take my eyes off of good and hope and joy and peace and God. . . But I also don’t want to be hard, cold, uncaring, apathetic; I don’t want to ignore the hurting around me, push away all the emotions and compassion; I don’t want to not slow down and see and pay attention. There must be balance.

March: Lions and Lambs

I don’t want to lose my big/soft heart. I don’t want to stop feeling for others, shedding tears over them/their situations. I don’t want to stop caring, to become apathetic or complacent.
But I also don’t want to worry. I don’t want to try to take over God’s job (like I ever could). I don’t want to resist Him. I don’t want to hold onto things that aren’t even mine to hold onto in the first place, things that I have no control over and that would be better off in His capable and loving hands.

Sorrow and Surrender (Hope, Part 2)
		
Julie

Julie

Hi, I'm Julie, a 17-year-old lover of books, music, and Jesus. I'm finishing up my junior year in high school (Abeka Academy) and have been blogging for two and a half years. I also co-publish a digital magazine called Priceless geared toward teen girls. My desire is to use my words to glorify my Saviour and to encourage you in your walk with God. I'd love to hear from you!

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