Today marks one year since my father, Bruce Keyser, went to be with the Lord. For all of my life up to that time, he was my closest male friend and our shared experience of living through good times and bad yielded an uncommonly close bond. We laughed together, poured over the Scriptures together, and enjoyed many memorable moments – from the mundane to the moving to the ridiculous! In previous times whenever I contemplated the possibility of our parting through death, I always wondered how I could ever cope with such a separation. But the Lord does not give specific grace to endure certain difficult happenings until we actually face them. In the past year, I have learned that His all-sufficient grace and mercy is more than equal to the needs of a mourning son.
Every time that I think of my father, I’m simply incapable of feeling sorry for him. Do I miss him? Of course – every single day I think of him, remember things about him, even surmise what he might say in a given situation. Nonetheless, I am truly happy that he is with the Lord, which according to God’s Word is “far better.” How can I write this so easily? I myself cannot fully explain it, but in my experience – and other believers may have markedly different reactions – God daily gives me a peace in regard to my father. In committing my cares and needs to my Heavenly Father I can honestly declare that I am endowed with a “peace of God that passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7.)
Once again let me clearly affirm that Christians exhibit grief in different ways, and others may struggle with the death of a loved one more than I have. That being said, Paul maintained that “we sorrow not as others who have no hope” (1Thes. 4:13.) Ultimately because of Christ’s resurrection, we rejoice to know that our departed believing friends and family are secure, at rest, and are blessed above human comprehension, for they are with the Lord. If you are mourning today, take your grief to the God of all comfort in prayer. He is a master at comforting the hurting and binding up spiritual wounds. Looking back on the past year, I am thankful for the Lord Jesus’ abiding, never-failing presence, and for His mercies which are “new every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23.)