Earlier this week, I attended the funeral service of a friend's infant son. There are many things that are just not right with this world, but burying a child definitely tops my list. I grieve with this family, even as I still grieve for my own daughter.
Like many aspects of life, grief has an ebb and flow to it. In its early stages, it can feel like a massive storm with waves crashing all around. It's hard to catch your breath before the next wave rolls over you. My own storm has calmed, but now I'm feeling the ripples of another's. It's not my storm, yet its effects reach deep into my own soul, bringing back a flood of memories and emotions.
The difference? I feel stronger now.
I remember a custodian at Children's Mercy sharing some words of comfort with us as we prepared to say goodbye to Kristen. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I do recall his kind words portraying so beautifully the very heart of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the 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 have received from God.
It seems that I have an opportunity to live out the last part of that passage in a very real way, a way that goes far beyond the words of any sympathy card. As I pray for comfort for my friend and her family, I also pray that God will minister to their shattered hearts. If I am an ongoing part of that process, I can think of no better way to honor both my daughter, Kristen, and the gracious Lord who gave her to me.
The pain of losing a child is one like I have never known in my life. Even so, it's been an avenue for knowing God in a way that I might never have known Him otherwise. Understandably, I know that is not what is on my friend's mind right now, but I pray that, in time, she will come to find that to be true in her own life as well.