Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (NKJV)
"I can't go to visit people when someone close to them has died." Sometimes, the person who utters words like these might fear crying when visiting sorrowing people. Yet, we can remember that God is with us to teach us how to weep with those who weep.
I went to the home of a girl who had died when struck while on school patrol duty, when two vehicles, skidding on ice, crashed at her crossing.
The girl's mother and I sat together at the kitchen table and talked about Bernadette, while the tears rolled down our cheeks.
I had known Bernadette from when she was a pre-schooler in inner-city children's clubs and Sunday school, so I kept visualizing Bernadette with her glossy, wavy, long, dark hair, her round face, her intense eyes, and her steady stance — Bernadette with a children's group returning from an after-school outing — Bernadette waiting behind with me to help shut my car doors while other children rushed off — Bernadette picking up things other children had dropped — Bernadette coming by for a wee visit with me when it was not the day for her age-group's club.
Bernadette's father came into the room and sat down at the table with us. He spoke of how much Bernadette had wanted to be on school patrol. His wife said that she had had a headache since, amid questions of "Why … Why … Why did she have to die?" We wondered aloud, "Could it be that God took her to save her from harsh evils in the world?"
Then, I led in prayer something like this:
- Our Lord God, we cannot fully understand Your ways. You have taken Bernadette. We have loved her, and we love her still. Thank You for making her the kind of girl she was and is. Please keep in our memories her goodness, and help us to pass on her ways to others.
We know that Your love for Bernadette is far greater than ours — Yours is perfect. And we know that You have reasons for taking her home to Yourself now. We trust Your wisdom. Thank You for caring for her and for us. Help us, we pray, to look forward to meeting her when, at the end of our lives, we go in our spiritual bodies to meet You.
We thank You that You have made a way to Yourself for all of us through Your Son, Jesus Christ, Who has gone before us, having given Himself for our sins, and having risen again, showing us that people live on after death. Thank You that by Jesus' sacrifice, He clears away anything that can come between Yourself and ourselves.
Please give us faith and comfort and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"My headache is gone now!" said Bernadette's mother. We talked a little more before I left. Our tears for the time were almost dry.
Jesus Himself wept when He visited the mourning sisters of his friend Lazarus who had died (John 11:35). Yet, Jesus also gave hope to mankind, for He offered assurance of His power over death as He raised Lazarus to life. May we rest in this assurance, and pass it on.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for saying, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh" (Luke 6:21 NKJV). Help us to cry and laugh appropriately as we keep in mind Your death and ascension. Amen.
Bernadette Durochet died near Dufferin School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.