May 2020 Connection

Unexpected Loss

In the past few weeks so much has happened that has impacted all our lives in significant ways. We will never be the same again. Why should we? There has been and continues to be change all around us. Many of us for the first time are dealing with unexpected human anguish and grief. Whoever thought we would be living through a pandemic. We feel the shock, the pain, the anger, and sorrow of such massive human loss. And so, we will not sugar-coat our blessings. We will not ignore the pain and minimize the bewilderment that comes in the “wake of wrenching death.” It has come and will remain with us for some uncertain time.
 
From what is happening in our world, may we as the body of Christ cling to hope and allow Christ to meet us in our deepest need…the need to be healed, encouraged and strengthened as we take this walk of faith together. That is the key….to take this walk holding hands with your neighbor as Christ leads us to a new awareness of truth and love. The truth is that God promised to never leave or abandon us. The Apostle Paul said it this way: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. ( NLT, Romans 8:38)
 
Rev Laurie and I had just finished our morning Bible Study of the Book of Exodus with our nephew in Japan, Michael. Laurie called me into the room when she got an unexpected message to please call –from a family friend, Dawn, in Vancouver, B.C. Dawn is the sister of Erin, the young mother who lost her husband Mike and sons Liam and Quinn in a vehicle accident at the end of February. Here is the heartbreaking, unexpected news. Erin took her own life.
 
After much wailing, sobbing, crying, heartbreak and pain, Dawn explained that Erin had traveled from her home town south of Calgary after the memorial service to visit her sister Dawn for a period of time, then to Ontario to visit her older sister Heather, then to North Bay ON to stay with her father Ron. She had with her the remains of her husband and two children. She requested to be alone during this deeply personal and solemn occasion of burial. After she buried those remains at the family lake home where she had grown up and her children had played every summer with their cousins, she decided she could not be without her children.
 
Some would say, well that’s not a surprise – who would blame her – how could anyone live without their entire family having been taken from them? The reality is, this was totally and completely unexpected by her father, her sisters, her extended family and her friends. Dawn tells us that Erin had tremendous support from extremely skilled friends who were also grief counselors and others who were psychologists. She had visited with her childhood friends. She was happy and in a very good frame of mind when she went to the lake house. Her father was stunned.
 
It was totally unexpected. Erin’s mother was a pastor. Erin’s sister Dawn is a pastor. Erin had the very best spiritual support as well as psychological support. Help us, Jesus, to cope with this unexpected loss and wisdom to minister to this family. Lord guide Erin’s soul to your side, guide her spirit to meet with her children’s spirits. Lord comfort each of us in our unexpected grief and loss as we know ONLY you can do!
 
Unexpected loss comes in many forms: sudden death, sudden change of life routines that we are all experiencing now, sudden loss of income, sudden hardships. In the name of Christ we pray that you show yourself to us. Forgive us in our humanity – our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. We are weak. Help us to Trust you – to lean on You during times of upheaval and heartache. Amen!
 
May love and mercy of Christ guide your steps in the days and months ahead.
 
Julius E. Del Pino, Pastor
 
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