"Rachel died and was buried....Jacob then traveled on." Genesis 35:19,21...."And his disciples came and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus." Matthew 14:12....."No matter how deep your loss, how impossible it seems to go on, life is too short to stop by any grave. We must proceed." Vance Havner
Jacob loved Rachel.....deeply. Yet the Father had great purpose for his life. He could not continue to linger at her grave in sorrow. He had to press on....The followers of John the Baptist loved their leader. His death was a crushing blow to all of them. Like Jacob, they too knew intense sorrow. They too did not linger at his grave. They took their sorrow, and all of themselves, to Jesus. Can you and I do the same?
Everywhere, both within and outside of the church, are those who are lingering at "graves." Not just at the graves of lost loved ones, but also at the "graves" of dead dreams, broken relationships, crushed hopes, and unexpected defeats. All of these have an emotional and spiritual impact on us. All of them have the potential to keep us at the grave site, in mourning. Perpetual mourning. It can last for months, years, a lifetime. We cannot bring ourselves to leave that place. We are emotionally and spiritually paralyzed. Whatever the direction of our journey had been, it now has none. We are going nowhere, and the fog of our grief keeps us immobile. It also keeps us from seeing and hearing Him. He has healing in His hands, but all we can see is the grave of our loss. What we have lost is our focus, and we can no longer see all that remains for us in Him.
The disciples of John model for us the only way to go on in our sorrow. Take it, all of it, to Jesus. He knows our sorrow. When He stood before the grave of Lazarus, He wept. He wept because death was never to have any place in the Father's creation. Sin opened the door for it. He wept as well over what the consequences of death, in all of its forms, does to a humanity that He deeply loved, and loves. He doesn't just feel our pain, He enters into it. But He cannot enter into it if we will not release it to Him. And that is the stumbling block for many. We hold to our loss. We make our home at the grave of that loss. Our spiritual walk with Him ceases, and every aspect of our lives is crippled as a result. So we remain broken people who could be made whole. We are crippled and lame when we could be called to rise up and walk. The grave site, with all the sorrow and pain, has become more familiar, even comfortable to us, than the journey that still lies before us. The journey He beckons us to step out into.
Many think that the healing will come as we stand at the grave, the place of our loss. Not so. As someone has said, His healing will not really begin until we take that first step away from the grave of our loss. Then it starts. And step by step it continues. There will always be a sense of the loss, but it no longer paralyzes us, or renders us impotent. We go on in Him, and we discover anew, His joy, peace, and hope.
At what grave might you be lingering at today? Your choice is to stay there, bound to that grave, or, to take the pain and sorrow to Jesus, and find healing....as you journey. Life on this side of eternity is indeed too short, and He has too much more for you, for all of us, than this. This loss, this pain, this sorrow. There will be many graves in this life, but He calls us ever onward from all of them, as we journey ever deeper into the realm where death, in every form, has lost it's power. In that realm, there are no graves.