When someone we love dies we never “get over it”. Instead we learn – ever so slowly – to live with the gap that’s left, and we gradually start to rebuild.
After our first daughter died following a car crash, 32 years ago, when she was less than one year old, we would go to our church in London. There people loved us and looked after us. They helped us to start rebuilding. So it was very special to preach at that church last week at a carol service in support of Child Bereavement UK.
In my sermon I talked about how my wife Caroline and I eventually came back to that great puzzle: the God that so loved the world that he sent his only son to live a risky life among us, and die so unfairly and before time. And how he did this so that all who believe in him should not have that sense of endless death and destruction – but have the hope of life and the knowledge of a future, and the life that’s somehow rebuilt around us by the grace and love of God.
Now every year we spend the anniversary of Johanna’s death together as a family. We have some fun, do something silly. There’s always that bitter reality, and yet there’s now that hope.
So my prayer for those who are in those darkest of dark moments, which I remember so well, is for that hope that heals and strengthens and draws us forward, because of that child who was born and risked and died and rose again, and offers life to us and to all we love.
You can read the sermon here: http://bit.ly/1k29TuX