My friend Carlos went to be with the Lord two weeks ago.
He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and then two days later he was gone. It was sudden, unexpected, tragic. He was only 56. He was a person who had profound impact on my life and dozens of others, because he reflected Jesus' love to everyone He met.
Today his friends and family celebrated his hilarious, enormous personality at his memorial service. They played clips from his favorite movies, youtube moments like this one, audio of his actual voice testifying in church to what Jesus was showing him...that one ripped my heart right out. They showed pictures and told stories. They even played the song he wrote for his wife-to-be so many years ago--at the beginning of their epic love story. It was beautiful.
I know that Carlos put his faith in Jesus, and that he's with Him now. I know that he's free from pain, free from cancer, free from sorrow. So why does it hurt so bad?
It wasn't supposed to be this way. We weren't made to die. We have eternal souls that were made to love and relate and fellowship eternally with God and with each other. We weren't meant to be separated from our loved ones through pain and death. Sin changed that. And it hurts like nothing else.
One of Carlos' loved ones shared with me that she was facing regret and guilt for not spending more time with him--for letting her own life get in the way, when she should have been sitting at his feet, soaking up the wisdom he had to share. How heartbreaking! I know she's not the only one who feels this way.
But if our souls are eternal, is it possible to spend enough time with any one person? Even if you spent your entire life with them, a lifetime is not long enough to fully know anyone. And it might even be possible that the more time you spend with someone, the more regret you might feel--knowing how much you are missing now that he's gone. No wonder the sense of loss is so great.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. We weren't made to die. Sin entered in and wrecked that.
But that isn't the end.
For those who trust in the eternal salvation brought about by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, the loss is only temporary. Jesus paid the price for our life-wrecking sin. He gave us our eternity back.
I wish I could have been there the day that Carlos saw Jesus face to face for the first time. He'd been looking forward to that meeting for so long! I know that his eternal soul is where it belongs, with enough time really get to know his Best Friend, and all his Best Friend's friends.
I look forward to catching up with him someday.
Dealing with loss and pain can be confusing and heart-wrenching. Here are some other things God has shown me through loss, and about His unflenching love for us.
I am a Sunflower. (This one reminds me so much of Carlos!)