Fort Mill Times

When sorrow is too deep for tears

The Rev. Jonathan Riddle is Pastor of SouthPoint Church in Fort Mill.
The Rev. Jonathan Riddle is Pastor of SouthPoint Church in Fort Mill.

"The radiance which was once so bright, be now forever taken from my sight, though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, we will not grieve, rather find strength in what remains behind; in the soothing thoughts that spring out of human suffering; in faith that looks through death. Thanks to the human heart by which we live, thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, to me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

William Wordsworth penned these words after the tragic death of his younger brother. His words and thoughts pierce my heart, and I find them especially meaningful because I am now dealing with the sudden, unexpected death of my mother. Even as I write these words, I feel a great sadness, sadness for my father, who was married to Mother for 48 years, and my own sorrow and regret for so many things left unsaid.

I always believed I had more time.

I know my story is not unique, many of you have already experienced these realities of life, and often more harsh than my own. I must confess this is new territory, but like C.S. Lewis used to communicate, "I'm coming up against a bit of experience . . . experience is the brutal teacher."

Although the loss is tremendous, and the pit often seems deep, there is no pit so deep where God is not deeper still. I want to mention most importantly that my mother was a Christian. The Apostle Paul wrote "Dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope."

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

If we believe His words, death may appear as a finality, while in reality it's "I'll see you tomorrow." As Jonathan Edwards was dying, his wife unable to reach him in his final hours, he whispered to his youngest daughter, "Give my kindest love to your mother, and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will last forever."

Those who belong to Christ never see each other for the last time.

St. Teresa of Avila once said, "The first moment in the arms of Jesus is going to make a thousand years of misery on Earth look like one night in a bad hotel."

Perhaps Dwight Moody said it best, shortly before is own death: "Soon you're going to read in the papers that Dwight Moody is dead. Don't you believe it! I'll be more alive than I've ever been before."

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9.