Archive for November 5th, 2008

On Death, Dying & Hope


I am sitting here exhausted after quite a long day at one of the local high schools that our church supports.  There was a student that passed away in a tragic automobile accident on Monday evening and the school asked if I could be available to assist in the grief counseling.  I spent the duration of the school day in the library talking with students, hugging students, comforting students, and making myself available to anyone who walked through the doors during the school day.

It was a very hard day.  The student that passed away was a very likable student and not one person I spoke with had anything bad to say about them.  This was the kind of student that everyone felt better being around.  This student was friendly, well-liked, athletic, and out-going.  Not that I would ever wish death on anyone but the question that many of the students were asking today, “why would this happen to this person?” is one that resounds in my mind.  I ask that question myself many times when tragedy strikes.  It makes no sense most times why such a nice young person would be taken from so many who loved them.

My response became canned, yet sincere, to so many today.  “I don’t know.”  I wish I had an answer.  I prayed that God would give me wisdom in how to best answer this question in a way that would bring great comfort to the many students that came through today.  I never got the answer I was looking for but I did find that in many cases the teens that I spoke with were comforted by the community that they were a part of.  

I really don’t think that we are supposed to have the answers to questions like this.  If we could explain it all away there would be no need for faith.  Faith is something that I saw grow in many hearts today.  I saw students band together to support each other.  I witnessed many students coming together and setting aside their differences to grieve together.  It was amazing to see the outpouring of love that the students had for each other.  There is a book that I read a few years ago with the title, “This Beautiful Mess”.  I can only grasp at this book title as a way to describe what I was a part of today.  In the midst of such a tragic loss for many there was beauty.

To see students holding each other and crying together and yet through it all finding reason for hope and understanding that this will get better.  To watch the pain of past hurts be stirred up again through the loss of this young life and yet find comfort in knowing that as a community they will stand strong.  To understand that we don’t have to have all the answers and still be alright with it.  Amazing.  Simply amazing that in the midst of all the pain that was being experienced students were also finding hope.

I am thankful for a God who loves us so completely that even in the turmoil of our lives He reaches down and cradles us in His arms.  I am thankful for the faith of many students who saw that they were there to help others through the loss of a friend.  I am thankful for the new relationships that were birthed today in that school library.  I am thankful for the hope that was found by many.  

In death may you be able to cling to the hope that life comes from Him and our time here will come to an end but our time with Him will never cease to be.  May you be bringers of hope in many circumstances and situations.  And may you never be afraid of not having an answer because you know who has them all…