I didn’t know Kobe Bryant – or any of the other people who were in the helicopter with him when it crashed. Nor did 99.99% of the people who are grieving today at the loss.
Grief does not demand closeness.
People grieve when a president, a well-known actor or actress, a legendary writer, or a respected businessperson passes away. They don’t have to be of your political persuasion or even from your country. You don’t have to know them personally. When certain people die it’s as if something is taken from us. Part of our collective self is diminished.
But there has to be something more than grief. After all, at it’s base, grieving is really about me. We grieve because the loss affects us in some way. To be more than a self-centered act there must be more.
We have to turn our grief into something that makes a difference.
For the Christian that means linking our grief to something that transcends the moment; the situation. It means going beyond our grief and finding not only solace but hope.
What we will find beyond our grief is eternity. That’s where hope lies and that should motivate us to use our grief for a higher purpose.
Kobe Bryant didn’t get into that helicopter expecting the unexpected. But the unexpected happened. It does every day. Hundreds of times a day. Most of the unexpected events in our lives amount to very little but some are life and death. And we need to be focused on something higher.
One thing that is true for all of us is that life is uncertain, but death is certain. The Bible teaches that in several passages using ordinary illustrations to help us see.
Our days on earth are a shadow (Job 8:9).
My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass (Psalm 102:11).
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (James 4:14).
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass wither, and the flower thereof falls away (1 Peter 1:24).
In the scope of eternity, the length of life isn’t long. That’s why making sense of loss is so important.
I wonder if Kobe or any of the other people with him had ever heard the gospel? Had anyone ever told them that God loves them? Had they ever come face-to-face with Jesus?
That is the only way that our loss and our grief make any lasting sense. It has to be more than about us or even about them. It has to be about where they – and all of us will spend eternity.
Stay in the Word