Since Sarah’s death, each time National Daughters Day and National Siblings Day roll around, I cringe. For me, they highlight the incompleteness of our family and the fact that we will never have any new memories or photos together to share.
When I realized today, Good Friday, was also National Siblings Day my initial reaction was disappointment, thinking it to be a distraction from the greater significance of today, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Almost as quickly as disappointment washed over me, though, I felt a gentle loving reminder that because of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday the most precious sibling set in my life will one day once again be whole.
I am struck by the heaviness of Good Friday, reminded of the incomprehensible weight of sin and sorrow our Savior bore on Calvary. It resonates with the deep sorrow that always flows just below the surface of my heart.
We will never again have a complete sibling set picture because of sin. Sarah’s death is the result of sin. God’s original design included no death. Apart from sin there would be no death. Apart from sin Sarah would be here.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” Romans 5:12 [NASB]
So often people point to God’s sovereignty in death, and indeed He is sovereign over it, but I think it much better to point to His grace instead. In His sovereignty He chose to pour out His grace through the blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary to remove the sting of death from those who will believe.
Our Savior tasted death, saying of Himself in the process, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death…” (Matt. 26:38). Yet even in the midst of His deep grief he persevered in surrendering His life for ours.
“…I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11 [NASB]
Because of His incomprehensible love and grace for us, He came, suffered, bled and died to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to replace death with life, abundant life. Because He came, died and rose again we can say of those who believe, “they live even if they die.”
“…I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,” John 11:25 [NASB]
My death holds no sting for me because of the price Christ paid at Calvary. As a result I profess emphatically with Paul “the desire to depart and be with Christ, for [that] is very much better” (Phil 1:23).
But the death of those we love and our separation from them stings deeply. My separation from and longing for Sarah over the past 34 months has been a crushing weight that has repeatedly left me tearfully crying out to God “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death.”
But even so, in the midst of the missing and sorrow I can joyfully praise God. Because of the suffering and sacrifice of Good Friday and Sarah’s faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work, I have the confidence of knowing that she lives even though she died. Because Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior as well, I also know I will see her again “in just a little while” (Heb. 10:37).
In the meantime, in the midst of the continued longing and sorrow, I have my Savior, my gentle Shepherd, my Great High Priest who lives to intercede for me. The One who knows intimately in a deeper way than I ever will what it truly means to feel and say “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death,” sees my sorrow, catches my tears and intercedes for me.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as [we are, yet] without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 [NASB]
I can’t post a new sibling picture of my favorite sibling set today, and that makes me sad. But because of Good Friday (and Resurrection Sunday) I have the confident overflowing hope of my family once again being complete on a promised and impending glorious reunion day that will last for all of eternity.
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30 [NASB]
Artwork: Sarah Harmening