Sunday, April 6, 2014

After losing a loved one. . . What's next?

He was . . . a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
Isaiah 53: 3-4

In one of my favorite shows, "The West Wing", the President always said, "What's next?" Anytime he was finished with a discussion, he would spout that off and everyone knew it was time to move on. I hadn't heard anyone use those words in that context before I attended a funeral this week. It certainly made me think.

The young man's father was trying to make sense of the fact that he lost his son. I can't even begin to comprehend what that feels like. Although I know when I lost my mother I experienced some of the same emotions he talked about and some of the same questions. Over and over again, as he did, I asked God why. Why did she have to die? Why did my young kids have to lose a grandmother that they loved?

But, as he pointed out, we will never be able to understand why. And, unfortunately it's not for us to do so. All we can do, with conviction, is say, "What's next?" The conversation is over, there's nothing more to be said or interjected, so it's time to move on. It's hard to accept, but it's the only way to make sense of it all.

What's next? What does God want us to do with the life we are left with?

One thing is for sure, God knows how we feel. He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows. He understands. As much as we think the "why" would help, it's not going to bring our loved one back. All we can do is trust that God has a plan and he's with us through it all--a constant companion through the grief.

If you've recently lost someone and are struggling to understand why, take this father's advice and ask, "What's next?" Moving on may be the hardest and the best thing you ever do to work through the grief.

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