At nine o’clock in the morning it was already hot, unbearably so out in the sun, and uncomfortably so in the overcrowded kitchen. The concrete floor had been swept, the hammock tied in a knot out of the way, and our friends gathered around us to say goodbye. They said goodbye with gifts, gifts that were given to us out of their sacrifice. Some gave an item that cost them money that they couldn’t afford. Others gave items they possessed that could never be replaced, such as the two brothers who gave away their high school trophies to our two male leaders. That year in Belize we learned about good gifts, ones that are given out of the sacrifice and the love of the giver, gifts that have meaning.
God also gives us good gifts--gifts that have meaning. He gives us people – dear friends, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, coworkers, neighbors – people of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes we enjoy those people for many years sometimes for only a short time. When these gifts, these people, leave us never to return, it causes grief.
We may not understand why we have one person for many years and another for only a short time. Our view of death is so different from God’s view. We experience it as a loss, an end. For us it is a cause of grief and heartache. God says that it is precious to Him. From His perspective it is a birth for His children into new life where there is no pain or suffering. It is a birth into life in God’s presence.
When we lose someone we love, it is easy to close ourselves off to love, to close our hearts to keep from feeling such intense pain ever again. Yet, God has many wonderful gifts He wants to give us. One gift does not replace another--each is unique and priceless in its own way. God wants to bring other people and experiences into our lives to bring us joy, to meet our needs, to help fill the void of loss, to love us, and to be loved by us.
We value, cherish, and love God’s gifts while they are with us and we must also learn to release them when they are gone. We love, we trust, we accept, we treasure the people who are given from God’s hand. We grieve--deeply, painfully. In the face of our loss, we trust God to meet our needs. In time we move forward. We thank God for the gift we had, for the time we had. We cherish the memories. We reorganize our lives. We learn to laugh again, to accept new people into our lives and we follow God to new things . . . in time.
What is one of your favorite memories of a good gift, a beloved person, whom you have lost?