Leaning against the wall of my dimly lit closet, I stood paralyzed by grief and clutching his shirt to my chest. I wept as if he, my nine-year-old son, had just left us. I stood there, motionless, for what seemed an eternity trying to convince myself that this had all been a dream. A very bad dream. But as my mind slowly, reluctantly yielded to reality, I knew it hadn’t been a dream at all. It was very real and I had to face it. Snap out of it, I thought to myself. It’s been nine years. Surely you’ve come to terms with this by now. Haven’t you?
I held the brown striped shirt to my face and inhaled deeply. It was his favorite and I was hoping so desperately to capture even a remnant of his scent. Something, anything would do in this seemingly hopeless moment. I could barely speak as the tears choked what might have been words even before they could form. I sobbed, my body shook, my heart ached, but I was able to utter just one word: Jesus. I whispered His name over, and over, and over. It was all I could say. It was all I needed to say.
I had heard many times before that there is power in the name of Jesus. I have never doubted that, but I didn’t fully appreciate the truth in that proclamation until my son passed away. Many times since then, I’ve found myself only able to call upon His name. I was too weak, too pained to utter anything else. And I’m so thankful that I didn’t need anything else.
In her book for which she is best known,
, Zora Neale Hurston penned a single sentence that has largely shaped the way I view the grieving process. “No hour is ever an eternity, but it has its right to weep.” This sentence, short yet highly meaningful, seemed to give my heart the permission it needed to grieve and weep for my son. Perhaps your heart, too, is looking for its right to weep.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there is good news for us! The Word of God offers great comfort in I Thessalonians 4:13-18: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” So, it’s perfectly okay, in fact normal, for us to sorrow -- as long as we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. Our hope is in Jesus and we know that we will be reunited with our loved ones who sleep in Him. I pray that you find comfort in those words; I certainly do.
Whenever you find yourself taking a tear-filled stroll down memory lane, remember to call upon the name of Jesus. And whisper, if you must. There is power in His name and He is faithful to ease your heart’s ache. Whisper to Jesus; He will hear you. Whisper to Jesus; He will answer you. Whisper to Jesus when all your heart can manage is a whisper to Jesus.