Dealing with Death

Erik Cooper —  January 19, 2011 — 3 Comments

Some days weigh a lot.

Yesterday definitely needed Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser, or some other soon to quit New Year’s resolution.

At 1:56PM I received an automated call from my kids’ school principal. A seventh grade girl, who undoubtedly passes my daughter countless times in the hallway each and every day, had unexpectedly and mysteriously died. Home sick with what must have seemed like a simple fever, her parents found her unresponsive.

She never woke up.

Gone.

What?

Why?

Shocked parents left to relive that last meaningful interaction with their little princess. A school full of devastated students forced to carry a burden their emotional muscles aren’t ready for. What do you do with death? Especially when the one that died was only 12 years old?

Everything that’s in me wants to explain it. And even though we don’t know this family personally, my kids will be expecting something brilliant from me. I need to find that ideal Scripture about perfect peace or eternal life that will deaden the sting or bring logical understanding into the confusion. That’s what pastor-dads do, right?

Actually, yes. We desperately need the illuminating truth and perspective of Scripture. But sometimes we use quick explanations, even accurate Biblical ones, to dodge the reality and avoid the pain. We think we’re doing a good thing, but maybe we need to take a closer look.

Do you know what Jesus did when His friend Lazarus died? Jesus. Son of God. The One with all the answers. How did he respond?

He cried.

He wept.

He fully embraced the pain and emotion. He stepped into it raw, authentic, and whole.

And maybe that’s what we need to do first. Resist quick answers. Swallow the cliches. Just feel the pain of our broken humanity. Fully. Together.

And experience the presence of Jesus, who knows our every sorrow, walking right there with us, too.

Please pray for the Acton family today, as they find themselves traveling a road no parent should ever have to walk.

3 responses to Dealing with Death

  1. Wow… I know that day will come for our kids to deal with, too. Thanks for the reminder to just BE instead of worrying about what to SAY. I still remember three separate instances when students passed away due to chronic illness when I was in elementary school. It’s hard to wrap your brain around it as an adult as is. I’m praying for their family and the hearts of your little ones as they grieve.

  2. Melissa Allison January 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Something in me is so broken about this. Maybe it’s my being newer at the “mom” thing…maybe it’s the anguish I can only begin to understand they must feel…maybe it’s my love for the Cooper kids wanting to shelter them from the hurts of this world. Whatever it is-Jesus, you alone are the Prince of Peace, the great Comforter, our Help in time of trouble. Please meet them all in such a real and powerful way today.

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