My Granddad died just over three weeks ago. It was a privilege to be with him as he passed away. We’ve all laughed and cried with stories and memories. He was a top fella in lots of ways. We’ll miss him and his infectious sense of humour. Last Friday I took his funeral. I’m tired and drained in lots of ways.
Often, when I counsel others in grief I encourage them in the comfort that God offers to us in times of loss. He is the great comforter, counsellor, and shepherd who can bring that peace which passes understanding. And without taking any of that away, I was surprised in my own reflections to find not just comfort, but also a word of challenge, even rebuke.
Through my own thoughts and prayers I found God challenging me robustly about the brevity of life, the reality of eternity, and my own cowardice and unconcern. In the words of a recent Getty hymn God has been rebuking my ‘slothful ease.’ My slothful ease at not speaking of my faith to others very often, and, if I’m being totally honest, not feeling much guilt or concern about that either.
Life is short. Eternity is real. And the distractions of life (maybe one of Satan’s chief tactics) has meant I’ve failed to often to cross the pain line and talk to others about the things I really do believe to be most fundamental to life and life after death. I know this is a very personal thing, and in that sense I’m only sharing it in the hope it may encourage others. Maybe some of us who have been recently bereaved, and maybe some of us who counsel them, could be brave enough to consider the ways in which, in death, God not only comforts, but challenges.