I learned today that a friend of mine from jr. high and high school lost her battle with breast cancer. We were not great friends; in fact, I’ve not seen or spoken to her probably since high school, but that doesn’t take away the sadness of what’s happened. She was my age and had three children, so it kind of hits close to home. May the Lord God Almighty comfort them and be their peace in their tragic loss.
Reading through the comments on her Facebook profile, I was not surprised to read that many were along the lines of “God has a new angel now” or “glad to know you’ll be looking down on us.” Do people really believe these things? From what I could tell she was a committed believer, so I would only assume that she wouldn’t have held such beliefs, but I hear/read these kinds of comments all the time. I have preached my share of funerals over the years and it never fails that someone will make this kind of statement. Maybe it’s their way of coping with the loss or maybe it’s the only time they give thought to such matters and it’s what makes sense to them. I don’t know, but I find these particular sentiments to be more than slightly askew.
When I hear these comments, I get quite peeved (though I would never show it). If there’s one thing a family doesn’t need to hear upon the death of their loved one, it’s that they’ve become an angel or they’ll be watching from heaven. That’s as bad or worse than flippantly tossing out Romans 8:28 to someone who is grieving. What the family needs in their time of grief, and even more so for a husband and three young kids who will have to face life without her, is the prayers of the saints and the presence of God. These two things will be of far more comfort than silly platitudes and mystical theology.
Whenever my time comes, I make one simple request to whomever preaches my funeral: don’t tell people God needed me in heaven, that He has a new angel, or that I’ll be looking down on everyone. Tell them though I am absent from this body, I am present with the Lord and that I, with the saints who have gone before, will be awaiting the day of Resurrection, and on that day we who have loved and obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ will be finally and fully restored in the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom belongs all praise and glory!
Αυτω η δοξα,