Tonight I read a letter from Samuel Rutherford, who was counseling a woman after the death of her daughter. Although the tone of the following quote may seem harsh, the whole context of the letter shows his deep affection and compassion for this woman in the midst of her difficulty. In this quote, he is faithful to strengthen her with the promises of God:
Men do lop the branches off their trees round about, to the end they may grow up high and tall. The Lord hath this way lopped your branch in taking from you many children, to the end you should grow upward, like one of the Lord’s cedars, setting your heart above, where Christ is, at the right hand of the Father. What is next, but that your Lord cut down the stock after he hath cut the branches? Prepare yourself; you are nearer your daughter this day than you were yesterday.
What fresh perspective for those of us who mourn those who have gone to be with the Lord! Faith challenges us to courageously receive this promise. When loved ones die, we are closer still to our own death. This comforts us, since it means we will sooner enjoy sweet fellowship with them in heaven and in the world to come!