My father passed away Valentine’s Day, 1998. It’s been seventeen years, but it is still fresh in my mind.
Though he died on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t make Valentine’s Day sad. It simply makes it a special day to remember and reflect.
At the time of his death, a friend told me the time would come when the mourning would end and we would simply remember the wonderful joys and blessings we had. I have experienced that, and I do rejoice in the good memories.
We still grieve over some things. For one, I truly wish I could tell my father about my grandchildren. He died before any of them were born. He would have loved seeing his three great-grandsons and he would have adored his great-granddaughter. I would really like to be able to pick up a phone and talk to him about my life and what’s happened over the years.
That’s the trouble with grief–there is so much unfinished.
As hard as it seems, God uses our grief for our good. This happens in a number of ways.
First, the trials and hard times of life work to perfect our character. James told us to count our trials as joy because of what God would use them to accomplish. “For you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Even Jesus experienced testing. He went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. His test was not to see if He would fail, but to show that He would have the victory. Our testing has the same purpose.
Second, some things only come to the forefront through trials. My dad had surgery at UAB in Birmingham and I drove my mom and dad home. The result of the surgery meant that there was nothing more medically to be done. On the way home, we experienced a time of tears and rejoicing. My dad, so reserved with his emotions, told my mother what a good wife she had been and how he loved her. It was a special time.
Third, trials show us the deep meaning of Christ’s death for us. Because of His resurrection, we have the hope of our resurrection as well. Even now, I know my father is in the conscious presence of God and we will be reunited because of the work of Christ.
Paul expressed it so well: ” So we do not lose heart. . . . For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18).
I write a daily devotional about Scripture and life. If you would like to receive these by email, please subscribe at www.waylonbailey.com.