Important note added on May 19th: This post was posted on Monday (May 18th) for a short period of time. There was a hoax going around on Sunday that Ravi Zacharias was dead but he really was not. I planned to edit this post and add it back on Friday, but sadly, Zacharias died today. Please keep his family in your prayers. I rejoiced that he lived a couple more days but was a bit disturbed at grieving over a man that was still on the earth. But I remembered that what I said here is still true: grieving is not hopeless or selfish. It represents deep love. In spite of my lack of true information on Sunday, this post can still give you all encouragement and hope. Remember Ravi Zacharias today and never forget it is okay to grieve. Do not forget to check out my other post: Grief – An Original Poem. Share it with someone who needs it.
Sometimes life hits like a wrecking ball, and it takes a while to get back up and stand on our own two feet. Value and impact are sometimes only measured once the people or things we value are gone. Once the wrecking ball smashes into our chests, we finally see how much it hurts, how much they meant to us, how much we valued them. We are continually reminded that this world is fleeting and just a rental. It can be broken, smashed, and demolished. It is never meant to last, nor are the bodies we inhabit.
I had a small epiphany recently on grieving. Grieving not only involves you but the person you lost. When I grieve, I am showing that person mattered and was loved not that I am weak. Moving on after death is hard. And it should be because we should love people hard. Realizing it is okay to grieve and it can show the strength of love, makes me not dwell on regrets or death but how deeply that beautiful person meant to me.
C.S. Lewis said in his wonderful book A Grief Observed, “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” Losing a person is no small matter. It can feel like someone cheated your very soul or ripped out a part of it and slammed it on the ground.
Grieving is then not weakness but being aware of your emotions and feelings. You decide not to bottle them up and continue on. You decide to stay on the ground in the rubble. You recognize a ball of metal just knocked you off your feet, and you are not ready to stand. You know that person meant so much to you. You know a part of you is gone. You know not being able to love them in person will pierce you like a knife.
I encourage you all to lie down and grieve. Grieving shows us the complexity of love. I think it even honors the departed. You are saying, “Life is not the same without you.” That is the truth and covering up your emotions will not make it a falsehood.
Death hurts. Grieving hurts. The new normals hurt. But I have learned lessons only suffering can teach me. I would never learn to trust if life never had interpolations. Lewis said in A Grief Observed, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
Would we know the difference between rainy days and sunny days if every day was sunny? Would we appreciate the good if we never experienced the bad? Would we value others if we never lost them? Death stings more because we know what it is like to live. But love, joy, and life are so much sweeter because we know what sorrow is like. Grieving gives us the chance to see the joy and love found in the lost person not just to pain.
Death reveals humanity’s fragility and need for a Savior. I have discovered I was closer to God when I was ready to break. Death has shown me what incomprehensible love feels like. Death has shown me how to trust instead of drown in fear. Death has shown me life has purpose. But finally death has shown me God’s second greatest commandment to love others also means He is there when we lose our beloved. He wants us to love others hard, and He also knows their deaths will be hard. Therefore, He wraps us up in our grief whispering in our ear, “I know it hurts. Thank you for loving my creation so deeply.”
Yesterday I needed to grieve. The world lost a dear man: Ravi Zacharias. He was an apologist, author, speaker, and founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. I never met him, but he taught me so much. He encouraged me to think deeply, find truth, and search deeper than the surface. Most of all he continually left me in awe at the love and power of Jesus Christ.
Many mornings I woke up to hear his words. He always left me challenged and convicted and always humbled by the gospel of Christ. He spoke with understanding and authority but always pointed to someone higher than himself. He challenged us to ask questions even if they were the ones that question the life we have.
The last time I listened to him I remember his message of our private life matching our public life. He spoke of being stewards of truth and remembering that Jesus satisfies us and changes our hearts. He wanted us to remember others are watching us. As a Christian, I need to be the hands and feet of the love of Christ. I need to share the truth with compassion. This is exactly what Zacharias did.
During this coronavirus, we have lost people and the holes left in our hearts seem so wide. I encourage you to remember God is near and grieving is a sign of love not selfishness. I hope we can grieve over their souls and continue their legacies.
Zacharias was truly a man of truth, stewardship, and love. Let us pray for his family during this time and let us in his own words, “Help the thinker to believe and the believer to think.”1
I have an original poem posted today in a different post on grieving and death. You will be able to print it out and share it with others. If you know someone that needs it, please don’t hesitate to send it.
For more about Ravi Zacharias, click here.
To view the message referenced above, click here.
To listen to his program: Let My People Think, click here.
~ Kenedy M.
All photos courtesy of Google images.
- “Ravi Zacharias” RZIM, https://www.rzim.org/speakers/ravi-zacharias.