Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by people who are no longer here? I feel that way sometimes, lately more than ever. All of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, whether a grandparent, parent, spouse, sibling, friend, or even a child. Each loss affects us in a different way. Some losses are hard to recover from–the sudden loss of a husband or child. Other losses fade in time, and even as the memories remain the pain lessens. But there are those who seem to stay with us. There are those we still think about every day. They are with us, even though they are gone. We incorporate the loss into our lives. It’s like learning to live with a missing limb–we move on, sometimes staggering, but the loss is an ever-present reality.
My mother died one year ago and I still think about her daily. My father died 20 years ago and he is still a part of my daily life. My husband’s brother died last week suddenly, and we are still dealing with the shock and pain. As I thought about this, how sometimes I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are no longer alive, I remembered the verse above. The bible says we are surrounded by those who have passed on. In Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, the patriarchs and matriarchs are mentioned by name: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab. They are with us, in some sense, and not just surrounding us, but I get the sense they are cheering us on. They finished the race and lived for God, and we can too. We can “lay aside the weights” that threaten to immobilize us; we can “run with endurance the race set before us.” We can look to Jesus and finish strong.
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