My dad died of cancer nearly five years ago. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about him, missing him, and grieving the last couple days.
I’m a social worker by occupation. I manage in-home caregiver services for people who are disabled and/or elderly. On New Year’s Eve, one of my clients killed herself. I’ve been grieving for her too.
Cancer. Suicide. Grief. As I poured out my sadness to the Lord tonight, He turned my thoughts to the cross. I can’t begin to tell you what relief I found there. When it comes to cancer and suicide (to say nothing of pollution, war, and sexual predators) I’ve concluded there are lots of explanations but few answers. Sometimes the heartache in this world seems bottomless. But the cross is a real answer—the only answer, in fact.
Cancer, suicide, and grief are only a few things that prove our existence can’t be fixed. It has to end. The cross provided that end. Jesus took our sins, sorrows, and sickness into Himself. He drew in all the disorder and poison of our universe. When He breathed His last, so did a creation suffering from tsunamis, economic crises, and whitewater rafting accidents. The hope we live in is this: “old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). This isn’t pie in the sky escapism. It’s help you get out of bed in the morning faith. This doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. It means we grieve but not like those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13).
Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away (Rev. 21:3-4).