My husband and I are attending a funeral today. Our dear friend's mother died on Sunday from complications arising from surgery last week. I have no doubt that she is with Jesus, and yet I also wept with sorrow and anger when I learned the news. The faith that she is in God's presence is a comfort, but it does not take away the pain of her absence.
Ten years ago, another good friend died in a car accident in the beginning of March. Two years ago, another friend's parents died in a plane crash, also during the first week of March. Last year, another friend's mother died of cancer. These were men and women in middle-age, a teenage boy. These were lives cut short.
Lent is a good time for grief. It is a good time to set our sights on Good Friday, on that day when God himself experienced the wrenching reality of death, when God himself suffered with us as fully as he possibly could. It is a good time to feel the pain of separation, to feel the sadness and anger of losing someone beloved.
And it is also a good time to look ahead to the boundary that God offers to those who grieve–the boundary line of the resurrection, of our celebration on Easter morning. Grief will not end, not this side of heaven anyway. But Easter gives us a reason to hold on to hope in the midst of all the sorrow.
One day, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:4). Until then, may Lenten mourning prepare us for Easter hope.