Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Death, loss and grief

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One of the saddest phrases of the bible is “they died and they were gathered to their people.”   Sad because that one solitary life impacted so many people, added some unique qualities that made life more bright. 

Chapter 23 takes us to a place of grieving.  Sarah has lived a long life of 127 years, given birth in her old age to a son, and known a life filled with joy.  Abraham finds himself needing to make arrangements for her funeral.  The process of buying a cave was a very open public discussion, with every detail done in the plain view of the tribe. 

We see Abraham being strong, negotiating for the land, and showing his character that refused to just take the land, but instead to pay market value.  And his assets are liquid – he is able to draw out a sack with silver, and pay specifically the asking price on teh spot.

While the transaction is very public, his grief seems intimate, private.  Grief is very personal, very intimate, very in your face.  No other person on earth can fully understand how Abraham must have felt to bury his wife of so many years.  She was his helpmate for decades.  They grew old together.  They traveled together, they wrestled with issues together.  They watched life from the safety of their strong marriage, together.  Now for the first time Abraham would not have this companionship.  His tent would be more empty, quiet, lonely. 

This is a hard lesson each of us will face, whether it is to bury a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse.  Death impacts us in deep ways.  While it is 16 years since I buried my mother I still have times when grief rises up to overwhelm me.  Maybe it is in a smell of something cooking or in the sight of the first snow.  Memories flood in, and the depth of the loss is again fresh and apparent. 

But grief and loss are one day going to melt away when we stand in heaven in the presence of our savior, and our loved ones are there, made whole and free of the bonds of sin and death.  Hallelujah, What a Savior!

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Written by Barbara Bloom

January 19, 2009 at 9:01 PM

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