How can we ever be truly prepared to lose a loved one, whether suddenly or expectedly? Today some dear friends lost their 16 year old son quite unexpectedly. God answered prayer in awesome ways early this year when he got a heart transplant. All has been going so well, and suddenly a virus ended it all. This home-educating family like us (ATI) just lost their only son, and first-born of five children.
We are overjoyed that he was a godly young man with a passion for Jesus, and are confident that he is with Jesus right now. But how does one prepare for a time of loss such as this? It feels overwhelming. We have lost five children to miscarriage, but as dark as those times were, we know nothing of a loss as great as this.
One thing that comes to mind in preparing for the death of a loved one is to resolve anything that will make an already grievous situation even more unbearable. If we have unresolved conflicts in relationships at home, how will we bear it if we are not granted the time to make things right?
Do I regularly evaluate relationships with those nearest and dearest? The kind of care I demonstrate here tells me who I really am. When I realize I’ve been wrong, am I quick to admit it, and care for the pain I caused? Or do I simply try to “make up” by being nicer and sweeter for a while, hoping that will cover it all?
The Bible calls it restitution. If I’m on my way to do some great thing for God, and I remember that I wronged someone and didn’t make it right, Jesus wants me to stop in my tracks and go care about them first, then go do the great thing for God (Matt. 5:23-24). Saying “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” just doesn’t cut it. That’s appropriate if we accidently bump someone (equivalent to “Excuse me”). If I was insensitive, proud, irritated, grumpy, dishonoring, or unloving, I have a responsibility to humble myself and say, “I was wrong when I ________. I realize I made you feel _________, and I want you to know I care about that. Would you forgive me?” If it comes from the heart they will feel it, and if past offenses are cleared, it gives me the joy of knowing I just touched the heart of someone dear to me, someone whose heart I don’t want to lose.