The Lingering of Loss

I lost my dad over a year and half ago.

The problem is that statement isn’t true. But it feels true.

I haven’t lost my dad, and he hasn’t lost me. I will never lose my dad. It just feels that way. He’s not lost to me we’re just separated at the moment. One day we’ll be back together. That’s the promise of the gospel. The trouble is that the separation is so deep, it’s so long, and sometimes its too much. Death is separation. Death is wrong. And there are some days more than others that I wish I could bridge that abyss called death.

On Sunday I felt so at home at our church. I preached about what I care about. I saw people touched by God. I was touched by him. And as we drove home Krista turned to me and said, “I saw and heard your dad so much in your preaching today.” That was a sermon my dad would have preached. I knew that when I was preaching. It was the type of day I would have liked to just call up my dad and talk about the service like we used to for close to 20 years. I wanted him to be able to share in the beauty of grace and acceptance I found on Sunday with me.

That’s what makes the separation so hard. It’s the “with me” part that I miss. Because at some times dad’s so close. I’m preaching, sharing, teaching, or just living and it seems like he is right there. Like I could sense him, pick up the phone and talk to him, or see him in the crowd smiling. This is why I feel like I’ve lost my dad. This is why separation isn’t a strong enough word for the pain of death. Death is evil in any form, at any time, and in any way. Paul says death is the last enemy. I know that enemy.

But while death may be the last enemy; death is not an enemy that will last. Because death has already been beaten. Jesus died to destroy death. Or more theologically put: Jesus dies to kill death.

So separation is here. But it won’t last. Death’s time is running out. So I may be separated from my dad, but he’s not lost. I’m in the waiting time. And I guess when we finally see each other again – I’ll just have lots of sermons, Sundays, and services to talk about. But at that point we’ll have time to catch up…

14 thoughts on “The Lingering of Loss

  1. A beautiful memory and a beautiful reminder of the depth of God’s love for us and the ultimate meaning of Easter.

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  2. Yes, death, and all things associated with it, is evil! When someone says, ‘it was God’s will… we need to trust Him’, I want to scream: “Death was never God’s will!” Thank God that He conquored death and redeemed our suffering, but that doesn’t make it any easier! I think often of your dad, and the influence he had in my life and ministry. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. ok, this one made me cry! I hate death, i hate the “crater” feeling death leaves, i hate the loneliness and separation it leaves a person with. .. however, i am so THANKFUL it is NOT the end! Bring on the heaven party people!!!!

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  4. So well said Andrew. We all miss Don but what a wonderful promise that we will see him again along with Nannie and Poppie.

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  5. Made me teary!! Been thinking about some people who I wish would have been here to meet Elysse. Thanks for the reminder that they will get to meet her eventually.

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  6. Your words express such a deep truth.The pain and suffering that loss brings is all to real to many of us.
    Although he is so alive in our day to day lives.
    I still hear his heartfelt laugh.
    His sermons he spoke on getting out of the “boat’. They still ring in my ears daily! Challenging me to not live in the norm. To close the door to Lords will for me, by putting him into a little box of what he can and will do. Instead living in the anticipation of what he has in store for me!
    He left an amazing Legacy.
    Yet those of us who knew him. Knew him as a humble man, that made everything about his Lord and Saviour.
    He spoke the truth, no matter how piecing it could be.
    It always made it easier to hear. Knowing full well your mom and him were walking this very truth out.
    Thanks for sharing your heart.
    Vulnerability is something that pierces peoples hearts
    Miss everyone lots
    Faye Kitzman

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    1. Thanks so much Faye – that was really beautiful. I love how your memories of my dad just confirm all that I knew about him too. How they echo the things I saw in him, and hope to be too. Grace and peace!

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  7. Thanks everyone for all your comments. I cried a bit writing this all – remembering the loss – but also remembering the promise that I’ll see him again. Death doesn’t last. Seperation doesn’t last. And Jesus promises a future better than the past memories I have of my dad. That’s what I look forward too

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  8. Hey man,
    Every time I think of that last moment in the hospital room with your Dad, I just remember how it all became so clear: death is wrong and it was not “meant to be”, but it surprised me how quickly Christ shone through in that moment. It’s the reality of Jesus in those moments that matters. Somehow, in Him, there is hope in the hopelessness, victory in seeming defeat, life even in death! Your comments here brought it back fresh … a wise man once told me “Don’t despair … it may be Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”. You know what … he was right. I cannot wait until that Sunday comes. Blessings on you and a happy Easter season to you!
    – Scott

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  9. I am so thankful for the 100% assurance of the resurrection. It is the capstone of Christ’s claim to Sonship. Romans 1: 4 “Declared with power to be the son of God by his resurrection from the dead.” and “Death shall have no Dominion” Romans 6:9

    Missing Betty — 11 Months following the beginning of her new life, – I can identify in some way with your feelings of “loss” and yet “not loss” — We will meet our loved ones again and realize the ultimate victory that we will celebrate on Easter Sunday (and every day of faith journey) Blessings to you, your family and your ministry. Harold

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    1. Thanks so much Harold for your comment and reminder that our assurance of the resurrection is as Paul says the basis of our hope. And on Sunday may you know God’s peace, and grace as we are all reminded that just as Jesus overcame death so too will we who trust in him. And at that time there will be no more tears, only restoration (Rev 21:4). May God’s Grace and peace, wisdom and strength be with you!

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