And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Two people at my church passed away this week. One was an elder who still had some years left; as far as I knew, he was healthy the last time I saw him. But apparently the Lord called him home suddenly this past Monday. When I heard the news that day, it really put things into perspective for me. I seemed to be doing relatively okay since then until Thursday. If I remember correctly though, I started to have trouble sleeping since Wednesday night. I guess I didn’t realize until tonight why this was the case. Maybe with everything I’m dealing with right now, and my past traumas, it’s a way to protect myself. So far, I’m still pretty sleep deprived though, and I’ve had a migraine for several hours now. I really hope I can get more sleep tonight.
But back to Thursday, that’s when another announcement came from my church group chat. It was another death: the son of a senior deaconess and ordained deacon at my church. This one affected me a lot more deeply. His parents, I got to know them fairly well, since I worked at their restaurant for about a year, up until I started my job at this current restaurant. I can’t imagine how they feel. He was around 13 years old and was severely disabled for most/all of his life. I felt some of the pain his mom went through, since she told me once how it felt to see other kids running around and playing, while her son couldn’t do that. I don’t think he was even verbal. It’s hard to process this right now. I try to imagine what it would be like to be in her position. As far as I know, he was her only son. I wonder what it’s like to have that happen to you. How would it affect your relationship with God? I know that just based on my own experiences, I’d definitely feel resentful toward Him. At least, that would be the easier thing to do. How do people actually not hold that against God? It just seems impossible.
After I got home from work, I started to think about how I haven’t been to a funeral since I left Minnesota. I have experienced loss on several occasions, each one gradually more difficult to accept.
The first I can remember was my maternal grandmother passing away when I was young (maybe around 8 years old). It was multiple myeloma, and it deeply affected her husband and children. Apparently, I look like her as well. My mom told me on multiple occasions how much I look like her sometimes. I wish I could remember her. Based on the stories my mom told me, she absolutely adored me from the moment I was born and this helped resolve some conflict in the family. I guess God had a special plan in this way. It’s hard to recall any memories of even her funeral.
The second was a grandma from the church I grew up in, in Minnesota. She really took a liking to me; my mom later explained to me that this was because I reminded her of her daughter (or at least that’s what I remember). I still have the gold necklace that she gave me, and she would also try to secretly give me allowance. I was confused by why she would spoil just me like that, but I guess I understand a little more as I get older. When she was reaching the end of her life on earth, her vision was the first thing to go. When I saw her sitting on her bed unable to see, she looked so helpless. I couldn’t stop crying in that moment. I think I was around 13 when she passed.
The third was my cousin who took her own life. This was about 3 years ago; I can’t remember exactly how long ago it was, but it was so strange that I heard about it on the same night that my stepdad proposed to my mom. I was happy for my mom but then hearing the news of this incident was a big shock. I didn’t know what to feel. I wish I’d had the chance to get to know her better while she was still on this earth. I honestly gauge my emotions based on how her family is doing. Her parents and sisters do seem to be doing relatively okay, but there are also times where I really sympathize. How does it feel to lose a child? Or a sister? She was just at the brink of 18. It reminds me of the mental health crisis and how it’s just getting worse as we get closer to the end times. I can relate though, more recently more than ever. People don’t take their own lives or even think about it unless they feel hopeless and that there is no way out. I mean, there could be other reasons, I’m not an expert on the subject. But I do feel that this is generally why. It’s hard to believe how many people, particularly the younger generation nowadays, actually feel as though life is not worth living. They throw around jokes about dying early.
How did we come to this? This is actually reality? How many of these people are Christians? Is it because they don’t have a relationship with God that they feel this way? And those that do, is it the trials they face that make them feel like this? I can relate to the latter, because my past and current scars are so hard to deal with at times. It’s hard to live with emotional pain. I’ve even noticed that in my dreams, I’m generally much more carefree and happier. It’s strange. Maybe it’s a form of escapism. Maybe it’s a glimpse into the future when I’ll be home in heaven. But if there’s one thing all of this reminds me of, it’s the urgency of saving souls. I do have my moments when I do fall into unbelief and doubt about this, but this gospel does need to be shared with every single person on this earth. I’ve been so distracted by my own problems and everything that has led me to fall back into depression or my fear/anxiety. I need to become strong and courageous again, only by the power that comes from You, Lord. I can’t waste any more time. Help me gain that assurance again and prepare me for the opportunity to save at least one soul before I return home. What am I doing here if I’m just living for myself and trying to enjoy the things of the world? They don’t make me truly happy. They just leave me feeling even emptier than before. Only You can give me true joy and peace. And how would it feel to know that I led one soul back to You? If I could do just that, I think I’d feel satisfied.
Please open my eyes so that I don’t become focused on what doesn’t matter to You. The world may try to tell me what is important but You always remind me of the real truth. Make me Your witness and spiritual doctor to heal and save those who are in my field. I know that among the people I work with, those I encounter on the streets or even later in school, there are those who are waiting, who are desperate. Are there really still those who haven’t heard? Please prepare them to be receptive. Please continue to heal me so that I can be ready to use my own experiences to serve others. Show me the reason why You allowed all these things to happen to me. Let them not go to waste. I have to know that You gave me this hope for a reason. I don’t want to give up. Not until You decide it’s my time.