Death is painful. And not just for the one dying. It can be painful and hearth wrenching for those watching their loved ones die. This suffering is inevitable. Adam’s sin and ours have caused the fall to effect every area of our lives and deaths.
It seems I am hearing more and more at funerals that so and so wishes this to be a celebration of life and hopes that we will not mourn like he’s dead but rejoice that he is with Christ. There’s truth to this but I also fear there is error here as well.
The truth is that we do not mourn like an unbeliever without hope. We do rejoice that our loved ones are with Christ and without pain and suffering. Yet we are still here. Death has still happened. And death is not the ideal. It’s a sign we are still under the curse and that we still live in the not of God’s kingdom. We must take our cue from Jesus when attended Lazarus funeral / memorial. John reports simply, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
Having tasted the glories of heaven and uninterrupted fellowship with God, Jesus wept. So to expect that we who have not tasted fully but only hope will not mourn is idealistic at best. However, we must weep like Christians. We must weep and mourn like we have hope. But we must weep.
The pain of death, its sting, has not yet been removed fully. We groan with creation for our full redemption (Romans 8). We mourn, weep, and cry because we know there’s something better. And we know death is sign that that something is not here yet.
So do not be afraid to mourn. The pain of death is real.