Robyn Alsip Arce
Psalm 116:15 (NKJV)
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
The word teaches we must always line our thoughts up against the word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). When I do that, I must see my husband‘s death as precious.
And, when I look at it from my husband’s perspective, I must also see his death as gain.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
The Hope Defense
Physical death for the believer is a joyous event:
We are freed from the shackles of our flesh and released to glory, never to struggle with our sin nature again.
Having finished our earthly race, we enter eternity to reap our reward (2 Timothy 4:7-8), and the home-sickness in our hearts is forever relieved.
We reunite with our believing loved ones that have gone before us and the void their absence had left in our hearts is wiped away instantly.
And of course, the pinnacle that we all long for - we will run into the arms of Jesus and spend eternity with The One who saved us. What joy, what awe… there are no adequate words to describe what that must be like.
But, for the ones left behind, the loss is full of pain. For the ones left behind, the void left by the loss echoes through their souls. Jesus knows that. Yet, the word tells us that Christians don’t grieve as the world grieves, we grieve with hope.
The world grieves without hope. They have no hope of what is on the other side. They have no hope that their loss is temporary or that they will see their loved one again. Their loss is permanent.
Of course followers of Jesus grieve; but we do it with hope. We grieve with the hope that our loss is temporary and we will see our believing loved ones again when we too run into the arms of Jesus. However, our hope is not limited to the other side of physical death. We have hope that the Lord will walk us through our grief and our pain and that there will be better days ahead as we complete our work for the Lord here. He has come that we may have abundant life even while walking through our grief. He has come that we may have joy even in the midst of our sorrow and to bring beauty from the ashes.
What does grieving with hope look like?
Does it mean I don’t feel the loss and the void my husband’s absence leaves? Does it mean I don’t cry out with pain at my loss? Absolutely not.
Grieving with hope means I am not destroyed by my loss.
It means I turn to Jesus and I am comforted and I am protected. I am safe in His care as He heals my heart. And, just as He always has, He will continue to provide for all of my needs.
For me it means that when I feel the loss and the sorrow and the pain of my husband’s absence, I can take it to Jesus and ask Him to replace it with His hope and His peace and His love and His joy. For me it means that I rejoice in the Biblical truths about myself and about my husband in Christ. (I’ve written about these Biblical truths many times and I will include them here again.)
I rejoice knowing I fulfilled my purpose as Julian’s wife. I rejoice that I was chosen to be part of his journey into eternity; escorting him from this life into the arms of Jesus, for there is no greater honor!
The Truth About My Husband
I rejoice in the Lord as I look upon my husband’s circumstances of gain instead of my own, of loss. My husband Julian is in glory and I rejoice in the following amazing truths about his circumstances.
Truth #1 about my husband:
I REJOICE in knowing my husband is free from pain, free from tears, free from a failing body... he is full in the presence of the Lord.
Julian is in Heaven! He is not missing out on anything this world would have for him. Quite the contrary, he is having ‘the time of his life.' Even if he were given the choice to come back, he wouldn’t! Not because he doesn’t love us enough... but because he’s HOME. He’s free from all the troubles of this world. He’s free from all tears and pain. He’s free from the prison of a failing body. He is full in the presence of Jesus.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Truth #2 about my husband:
I REJOICE in knowing my husband fulfilled his purpose on earth and is reaping his reward.
Julian is not missing out on anything he was ever meant to experience on planet Earth. While he was here, there were still good works planned for him to do. When Jesus came for him, he was finished with his work. Now he is reaping his reward. Hallelujah!
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Truth #3 about my husband:
I REJOICE in knowing my husband was called home exactly the day and the hour that God had ordained since the beginning of time.
Since before time began, God knew the day and the hour of Julian’s death.... so he was never meant to be here today. He was never meant to be here even one day longer than he was. Even if heroic last attempts had been taken to extend his life, his life would not have been extended. It was his time to enter eternity with Jesus.
... all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be
A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
When I meditate on these truths about my husband, I am free to be joyful and content; knowing my sweet man is exactly where he is supposed to be... in the presence of Jesus!
I am free to find joy and contentment in my memories; not sadness, not guilt, not regret. I’m free to celebrate my husband’s life and celebrate the love we were so very blessed to share - even in the midst of my grief as I miss him profoundly.
The Truth About Me
As I continue to press into Jesus and participate with Him in my healing, I am also able to rejoice in the following truths about myself.
Truth #1 about me:
God comforts me, protects me, and turns my mourning into dancing… oh, and He has!
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Surely he took out pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy
Truth #2 about me:
God still has a plan and a purpose for my life. My purpose is revealed in the journey with Jesus. When I abide with Him each day, He continues to show me the way.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Hang on to these truths! Feed the truth of God's Word to your spirit daily and the truth will transform you.
I am in awe of what God has orchestrated along this journey. The most amazing part is how my relationship with Christ has grown deeper than I could ever have imagined. As I sat at His feet and as He’s carried me through, I have truly come to understand His love more fully. I have experienced His love through my own deep personal experiences (Ephesians 3:19).
I encourage you today; don’t miss out on what God has for you even in the midst of your sorrow and your pain. Walk with Him! Ask Him to help you see things from His perspective and from your husband’s perspective.
Your hope is alive and well and readily available to you in the person of Jesus Christ.
— Robyn Alsip Arce, © 2022
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Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved
Scripture quotations marked (NKJV) are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.