Losing a friend recently has left me truly sad, a deep sadness I didn’t anticipate. Nerine was kind and confident and she befriended me when I was new to Johannesburg during my time at varsity. We met at church and there our friendship grew. She included me, when she didn’t have to, as she had many friends in Joburg already. After a few years in Joburg, I headed back home to Durban to fully start my career. Nerine visited Durban and we caught up and then a few years after that she and her husband moved to Abu Dhabi. The last couple years we lost touch, but I would always see her Facebook updates of her life in Abu Dhabi. Nerine had her first child and shortly after, she found out she had cancer. She created a group where she shared her cancer journey and I would regularly read her updates. Despite her pain and suffering she had such hope and faith for her healing. She really inspired me with her steadfast courage and faith.
Recently, I had been praying for her healing every day and today I came to the sad realization that I no longer get to pray for her. But then I was reminded by her husband’s post, where he had said she finally got her healing, that she now rests in heaven, that my prayers were answered in the way in which was contrary to my one-way thinking. “By his stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:5. This is God’s promise for here on earth and in heaven. Nerine’s cancer was taken from her in leaving earth to enter heaven, and that was her healing. What a way to turn it around and how that has brought me understanding around healing.
The tension that comes with death is trying to find a balance between loss of a loved one and knowing that they are pain free, but we are left hurting and grieving. Knowing the peace and joy they are experiencing should bring us joy too, shouldn’t it? …and this is where the tension comes in. We should be happy for them, but we ourselves are so sad that our minds struggle to find the balance between the two. That’s the thing with death it leaves you torn between heartbreak and God gaining another angel. It’s a state of being happy and sad at the same time. A true oxymoron. Although we do not understand this tension, we can find peace in it. The peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7) that God gives, where peace covers the need to understand. Peace fills in the question mark. God’s peace is the tension breaker as the struggle to understand is lifted to heaven, where we no longer need to make sense or grapple with it. We only know things in part (1 Cor 13:12) whilst living on earth and while some things don’t make sense, God gives us His peace to steady and settle our hearts. That is the balance between life and death, peace. It seems too simple to accept with a tension so strong, but peace is the piece that fits so well between them.
I pray for peace for all who are grieving a loved one and I pray peace would fill your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, the Prince of Peace .