“Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
I attended my first funeral for a child recently, something none of us should ever have to do. She was a stunningly beautiful 4-year old, with medical issues which profoundly impacted much of her too-short life. Her parents created an amazing celebration of her life. Pictures of her with her family were being projected when I entered the church – I was in tears before I could sit down. Even the white-haired gentleman sitting next to me lost his battle for composure before it was over. Only the preacher and the speakers giving the little girl’s eulogy – two of her grandparents – maintained their composure during the service. I was in awe at their strength.
There was no way to escape the enormous ‘why’ question on the two-hour drive home alone. So many things happen in life that we struggle to explain, but the death of a child is one of the most difficult. As I’ve shared before, it is exactly this question that was my own strongest guide toward faith. I finally decided I couldn’t reconcile living in a world where too many people, especially innocent children, live their entire lives never knowing love or hope. There must be something more–the alternative is unbearable.
But this was not such a story – this was a story of love and hope. Though terribly sad, the service was also inspirational, focusing on the deep love that was the center of this precious life. I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced feeling surrounded by such a powerful sense of love, even though I was only a bystander. Hope came from our collective belief that this family’s daughter was now fully healed and surrounded by the love of God. This day of love and hope will be with me for awhile, and with it, a deep faith that every life is precious to Someone.
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” –Victor Hugo