Look Ahead with Joy

by Crystal Bowman

Now it’s your time to be sad. But I will see you again. Then you will be full of joy. And no one will take away your joy. John 16:22 NIRV

My life-long friend, Helen, passed away two years ago. We became best friends in high school and were besties for 55 years. Her youngest daughter is single and misses her mom terribly. We have formed a bond because, as we grieve together and share stories of her mother’s life, it’s a way for both of us to preserve precious memories of someone we both deeply loved.

We recently met for dinner then walked around town for hours. Her daughter said to me, “What makes this so hard is that she can’t be replaced. No other person will ever be my mom.” I agreed and understood her feelings because no other person can be my best friend for 55 years. I have wonderful friends whom I am close to, but I don’t have the history and memories with them like I had with Helen.

Losing someone you love, whether it’s a friend, parent, sibling, or child is one of the deepest grief experiences we can have. The emptiness, heartache, and sorrow can be overwhelming. We want to keep looking back at the memories and hold on to the past. It’s all part of the grieving process that is necessary to move forward.

A friend of mine lost her son when he was twenty-five years old. She told me she was stuck in her grief for years until someone shared something with her. This person said, “You keep looking back but that is not where your son is. He is in heaven—ahead of you. He wants you to look forward and live your life with joy because every day brings you closer to being reunited with him.”

Jesus understood grief. He wept when His friend Lazarus died, even though He knew He would call Lazarus out of the grave and bring him back to life. He also tried to prepare His followers for His own upcoming death. He knew they would grieve His death but assured them that they would see Him again and be filled with joy.

For believers, this is where we find hope. Our loved ones may be gone, but we will see them again and that can give us present joy as well as future joy. Our loved ones who have gone ahead of us would not want us to be stuck in our grief looking backward. They would want us to look ahead, and live life with joy, knowing that one day we will see them again. That doesn’t mean we won’t have moments of sadness, but rather that the sadness will no longer consume us.  I once heard a saying that I love: “Grief is like a wound that scabs over. Once in a while, you bump the scab, and it bleeds a little.”

As long as we are on this earth, there will be times of grief and pain. But knowing we will be reunited with our loved ones gives us peace, comfort, and joy. And knowing we will see Jesus face to face fills us with eternal hope.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev 21:4 NIV).

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation: Have you ever lost someone near and dear to you?


5 thoughts on “Look Ahead with Joy

  1. Beautiful and helpful blog, Crystal. I lost a friend recently. For silly reasons we had been estranged for several years. We had just reconnected and were looking forward to working in ministry together, when a few weeks later, he was gone.

    Sometimes the loss is the potential of what could be. I am grateful that God brought back our friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My mother died when I was eight. I didn’t stop missing her until I lost a baby during pregnancy. Then I was incredibly glad she was in heaven to take care of my little boy! Perspective changed at that point. Keeping our eyes on heaven makes a difference! Thanks for sharing, Crystal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just read your post for today–October 12. I am numb. I have no words. You are right Sheri–sometimes there is no why.


  3. Beautiful and poignant thoughts, Crystal, and so true. Thank you for sharing. My younger brother died four years ago, my mom died a few years before that. My father died suddenly at age 50 many many years ago when I was 27 and yet there are times I cry for what could have been. I’m so glad my remaining sibling, my sister, is left with me. It’s a strange feeling when there’s only one other person who has the same memories as you growing up in the same house. I like what you quoted by someone else:”Grief is like a wound that scabs over. Once in a while, you bump the scab, and it bleeds a little.” I’m so glad the Lord is there in the times when we need comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

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