by Brandy Webb
I have been to two funerals in just a couple of weeks. I also know of a few more people that have unexpectedly passed away recently. Life is so fragile and short no matter how long we live. Solomon taught that “it is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). I know it may sound hard, but death is a reminder of how short our lives are, which in turn should make us learn to live each day to its fullest. We never know when our final day in this lifetime will occur, and the house of mourning is a reminder of that.
However, I do not want to cause sadness and grief for my readers. There is hope when we mourn, for Jesus states, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). David knew this, for he tells us that God “is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). God can comfort us in our grief and grant us peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Plus, we know that the house of mourning will one day be a house of praise. This time of year brings me comfort when I think about all the people I have lost. This time of year reminds us that this period in time is just a brief moment in eternity. This time of year is to make us realize that the pains of this life will not compare to “the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). We are not to grieve like those who have no hope because we have faith in our Messiah who died and rose again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14a). Therefore, we have confidence that “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him” (1 Thessalonians 14b).
We just celebrated the Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah, and soon we will be observing the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur and Feast of Tabernacles/Feast of Booths/Sukkot. God’s Fall Holy Days have not been fulfilled yet. Christ has not returned. God’s Kingdom has not conquered all worldly kingdoms. So, we wait patiently for these fulfillments knowing that those who have gone before us are not forever gone. We have a hope that helps us cope through our grief. We have a quiet joy in the marrow of our bones that one day God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things” will have passed away (Revelation 21:4).
Maybe this is why Solomon said it was best to go to the house of mourning because there we have a reminder that one day there will be no more houses of mourning. One day, we will be able to say, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). We may be walking in the “shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), but we do not need to fear because we have a Messiah that has already conquered it. He is our comfort and strength. Though we may grieve right now, there will come a day brighter than any morning we have ever encountered that will have never-ending rejoicing.