This is the time of year that leaves change, signaling a change of seasons. The leaves change color, often in spectacular ways, before they die. As the leaves fall, they also signal that another season is coming, a season of cold weather, barren landscapes and storms.
I was thinking about this in relation to the death of our daughter, Crystal. As her life fell, we anticipated a cold, barren and stormy season ahead. It did happen. But just as the barrenness of the coming season will sometimes be temporarily suspended by the beauty of a snowfall, so too, the season following the death of our daughter is temporarily suspended, at times, through unexpected blessings. The blessings don’t wipe out the darkness of our loss; but they do cover over the shadow of pain and grief with times of joy and comfort.
Just as the barren season of winter is followed by a season in which new life springs forward, our experience has been that our own season of grief and sorrow is followed by new life springing forward. And we know that any new season of grief that might come again will never lead to total barrenness. Jesus demonstrated that when He burst out of the tomb with new life. He told us, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25.
I am so glad for that promise of resurrection, and that one day we will be reunited with our daughter again eternally! I am also glad, “because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 No matter how cold, barren and stormy life becomes, we are not alone. Just before Jesus ascended back to heaven He left these parting words, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Stuart Hamblen captured my hope in spite of my grief:
My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a path that's winding always upward;
This troubled world is not my final home.
But until then my heart will go on singing.
Until then with joy I'll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold my Savior
Until the day God calls me home.