When my sister lost her battle with cancer at age 50, I was angry with God.
I know that is a natural step in the grief process, but I had always loved God. At an early age, I learned of his love for us. So, to be mad at him was a very uncomfortable place to be.
I also struggled with my grief and anger because I believe in heaven. I hate saying goodbye, so the last thing I said to my sister was, “I will see you again.” Our determined stares into each other’s eyes would’ve burned a hole through anyone else.
Before her death, I believe I was given a glimpse of her in heaven to ease the heartache I would later feel. The motion picture that formed in my mind was too beautiful, too creative for my own brain to conjure.
In my mind, I saw my sister in a field of yellow flowers, arms outstretched, her smiling face toward the sky and eyes closed. She was twirling. But as she twirled her age changed. With one revolution she was a young girl with blond curls adorning her head. As she turned she changed to a teenager, young adult, then her present age. I believe it was a glimpse of heaven.
As I grieved and poured out my heart in prayer, I asked, “Lord, why do we grieve when we know heaven is so much better than this place? Why can’t I just be happy for her? Why do we want to live here and fight death?”
His answer brought peace and freedom to grieve as well as to live.
“Because you are made in my image…relational.”
This summer will be the fourth anniversary of my sister’s death. I no longer grieve as I did, though I miss her terribly, some days more than others. But I’m free to grieve and to share that with others who have lost loved ones.
Even Jesus cried at Lazarus’ tomb.
We grieve because we were made to love and loving is living.