Over the last 24 hours, I’ve witnessed two families say goodbye to a family member. Both were relatively young, 41 and 61. Both stories could be looked through the lens that life can be cruel. Yet, the witness I’ve observed revealed a different perspective.
Both of these family members left behind adult children in their 30s and 20s, young adults. Through various means, these young adults, in the middle of their pain and grief, affirmed that even though life can be cruel it can also be hopeful. In that light, here are a few pastoral thoughts for all family members.
To the older adults, interpreted as you have adult children and maybe even some grandchildren:
- Spend time (intentional/fun/memorable/meaningful) with your family
- Model for them what it means to pursue a relationship with God
- Challenge them to live as much or more for others than themselves
- Live with eternity in mind
- Teach them the only source for hope when it comes time to leave this earth isn’t found in anything on this earth
To the young adults:
- Guess what? Your parents know they aren’t perfect. Love them anyway, like God does you.
- God has a purpose for you in your family. It may seem weird to step into a more leading role in the absence of your parent, but God is available to guide you just like he was available to guide your parent.
- The strength that is holding you up right now is the strength you’ll need the rest of your life. Don’t let go. Relentlessly hold on. Better yet, just rest in it.
- The maturity you’re experiencing right now through this event is just another step of life. There will be more maturing moments. Embrace them. Learn from them. Seek God through them.
- Life is going to be cruel again; that’s what we’re in for until God returns. Keep your eyes on hope. Guard your hearts from bitterness through gripping to hope.
May these words encourage you:
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” Joshua 1:9