Monday, September 26, 2011

Grave Avoidance?

In the year following Micah's death, I would visit Micah's grave fairly frequently. But in the last year, Heather and I have felt less of a need to visit the grave. In fact, Heather has not visited the gravesite in nearly two years; I have not visited his marker since the beginning of this summer.

Our visits to his grave are not for our son; any time we spend at the grave is really for us. My son, having been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ on that roman cross nearly 2,000 years ago, is now in the physical presence of God. While I can not tell you what his daily life is like now (or whether he experiences anything like our "days" at all), I know Micah is in a better place. As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:1, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." We know where Micah's well-being, right now, is not impacted by the frequency of my grave visits or any other ways we might honor him.

As grieving parents, how we view our own visits to the grave might serve as a barometer of how well we are grieving, generally. Visiting the grave every day, at the expense of relationships and work ministry opportunities, would probably mean that we are "stuck" in anger, or the past, or in our guilt. Alternatively, never visiting the grave at all, even if only mentally, would probably mean that we are trying to suppress our grief through avoidance.

If we live in faith in a loving and sovereign God, we need not live in the past, as if that is all we can hope for with our child, or live in avoidance of our grief. In Jesus Christ, we have a "living hope" that, even now, our deceased children live with Him, and that we will see them again someday. To the extent that our grave visits point us toward this "living hope," they are visits well spent.

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