Coming up on November 1, 2021, my little brother would have turned 31. That's strange enough to say, as I still don't know where thirty years went in such a haste. I can still very clearly remember standing guard over his crib as he napped when friends would come by for a peek.
It's been about 8 1/2 months since his passing, and the reality rolls in and out like waves on a seashore. The Lord has given me more peace and resolve than I can even account for, and He has also led me through a healthy and needed process of grief. There have been moments when I will be walking down the hallway, laundry basket in hand, engulfed in the tasks of the day. Then, suddenly, it comes. The rushing wave of grief through my chest, the tightness in my throat, and I will drop to my knees under the weight of it. Tears. The sweet surrender of tears.
The scripture teaches us that in Christ, we do not have to be consumed by a hopeless grief, but rather we can navigate through a Godly grief. Godly grief brings us to our knees before our Creator, but it does not keep us down. Godly grief reminds us that death isn't natural and was never an intended part of the human experience; that there is a day coming when it will once again cease to exist. What has already been done on the cross will come to full manifestation and death will be swallowed up forever. Godly grief allows us to feel deeply but not be a slave to our emotions. Godly grief rests in a blessed hope. So, yes, somedays you fall to your knees, laundry basket in tow, and right there on that floor the Father holds you tightly and whispers, "the battle is already won".
Words fail me at the thankfulness and all consuming awe I have towards the Father who drew my brother with an everlasting love into the sweetness of His eternal salvation before his passing from this world. Oh, how He loves us. The reality is that I will have to live the rest of my human life without my brother, without a blood sibling, without his embrace. The reality also is that because of Christ, I will not have to live forever without him. We will be together again, and I believe that with all my heart. Not because either of us earned it or deserves it, but because God's grace is sufficient and His promise sure.
My compassionate boy - I miss your wit, your protective love for me, and your enthusiasm for creating positive change.
I am so filled with joy that you are in the best place that you could ever be. I am so overwhelmed that at the moment you closed your eyes for the last time in this life, that you passed out of the time space restriction, and opened them at the glorious resurrection. For us, it will be years of missing you, but for you, it was seconds for us to meet again. What a blessed hope. My precious brother - the best parts of you will live on through me. On this birthday of yours I am reminded that in Christ, whenever there is loss, there is also most importantly life.
I love you forever. Until we meet again...
Your big sister.
What Jackson would want you to know:
If you do not know the Lord, I urge you to grab a hold of this blessed hope by crying out with true saving faith that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah. Truly believe that God came in the flesh, lived a spotless life to be a perfect sacrifice, died in your place, and rose again conquering the grave. When the living God who created you, comes and makes His home in you through His Holy Spirit, you will taste a glimpse of something that can not be fully described in human words. Something eternal, sure, and beyond comprehension. When we confess our need for His grace and come to Him in humility of heart broken by our separation from Him because of sin, He will cast all our sin as far as the east is from the west; He will purify us white as snow. He will forgive, He will indwell, and He will transform. He will set us on straight paths as we follow Him. He is calling you. He knows you. He is salvation. He is truth. He is almighty.
Romans 10:9-10 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.