I have not been to a whole lot of funerals in my lifetime. In fact, I try to avoid them as often as possible because they are so sorrowful and I am just utterly afraid of them. So, when a dear church friend passed away last week, I immediately thought of ways to get out of attending the funeral. Because this avoidance has been my go-to for so long, I didn’t even feel guilty about it (which now makes me feel guilty!)
The evening that I found out he died, I spoke to my grandmother who said something I certainly did not expect: “Sometimes death is good. It can remind us to cherish the moments we have on this earth. It can remind us to focus on the things that really matter.”
When she said this, I gave an expression of a deer in headlights – not because I was offended by her comment, but because I knew she was absolutely correct. Rather than finding ways to not go, I decided to face my fear of death, attend the funeral, and pay my respect to his family.
During the funeral, I prayed for his wife’s peace in this season of mourning. I know that the days ahead would be difficult for her, and I hoped that God would give her rest through His peace. Praying for her reminded me of the words that Jesus spoke before he left the earth:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
~John 14:27 NIV
Yes, of course! How could I have forgotten such powerful words? Even through times of pain and suffering, Jesus promised us the gift of peace. For my friend’s wife, Jesus’ peace would see her through. At the same time, Jesus’ peace would see me through my long-standing fears.
If it hadn’t been for the conversation between me and my grandmother, I would’ve missed the message that God wanted me to understand through this time. This moment that I tried desperately to avoid actually taught me a lesson that I didn’t anticipate: Through happy times, we have been given the gift of peace. Through sorrow and fear, we have been given the gift of peace. Going forward, I commit to changing my mindset and embracing what has already been given.