The saints of God are subject to the same evils that beset all mankind. But trust in God brings benefits  that cannot be felt by those who have not the hope we embrace. Most avoid the contemplation of death, because of the pain and trauma it brings. But none of us is exempt from its shadow and most are closely  touched by it in some way during our lives. One writer on the subject summarises the experience of many:  “Losing someone you love is like losing part of yourself. It can be even more painful if those around you  avoid sharing your grief or assume you will get over it quickly… Bereavement is not an experience you  recover from, but in time you will find a way to live with your loss.”
The following is a real letter that was sent to a brother whose wife had recently fallen asleep in Christ,  though the names have been changed.

My dear brother Sam ,

Greetings in the sure and firm hope that  we share.

I write as one who has some understanding of  the circumstances in which you now find yourself  with the loss of your dear Sarah. My heart goes  out to you at this time, my brother, for I do not  underestimate the extent of your loss, even though  it is now over three years since my own dear wife fell asleep.

Sorrow is quite natural at such a time and I would urge you to allow yourself to express that  in whatever way you feel is appropriate.

Whilst sorrowing, we must at the same time  keep perspective (I speak to myself also). God has  allowed it to happen. Jen and I always believed in  the words of Paul in Romans 8 that “all things work  together for good to those who love God, to those  who are the called according to His purpose…”  When she was diagnosed with cancer, we looked  at the issue squarely and came to the conclusion  that Paul was right. Now that she has fallen asleep  I am thankful to be able to say that I still believe  it to be true.

What is the “good” of which he speaks? This  is difficult to quantify initially—but it gradually  comes—certainly prayer becomes very vibrant in  such a way as to make the Father so real that one  could reach out and touch Him. Perhaps there is  an increase in patience—perhaps the opportunity  for others in your circle of friends to express God  manifestation in very practical ways. There are  many forms in which the “good” may come. There  is no doubt in my mind that it makes the coming  Kingdom a greater reality and the need for it more  pressing.

My brother—I would urge you from my own  experience to take each day one at a time. If there  is one thing that it is important for you to get from  this letter it is this. Our Lord said that “sufficient  unto the day is the evil thereof”. And it is true.

I found the need to try not to plan too far ahead.  Take each day one at a time. You can cope with  an hour—then a day. Leave it at that for some  time. Some things take care of themselves. In due  course you will be able to plan ahead. Only do this  when you feel capable of doing so. Our emotion  sometimes comes to the fore. Let it have its turn.

Our Heavenly Father is always there—very  close.

Some strategies that I learnt were things  like—when hymns expressed sentiments which I  could not cope with—then I simply did not sing.  God knows our feelings. With God’s help, gradually  the strength comes.

Keep occupied—but ensure that you work  within a limited objective. Keeping the mind on  a useful activity is good therapy. It builds on the  positive principles of the Truth. But do not overload  yourself. Keep the objective limited.

In my case I continued with most of my ecclesial  roles, however after six months I found the need to  relinquish the responsibility of Arranging Brother in  order to have the time to rebuild myself and devote  time to the development of my family. Now I am  actively engaged in ecclesial work again—with  God’s help.

I am not the same person any more. The  experience changes one—and this is part of the  “good”. I am more vulnerable in some ways, but  more able to perceive the needs of those who suffer  in similar ways.

No doubt you will be able to find someone who  understands, someone you can talk to. You don’t  have to talk a lot of ‘logic’. Just find someone with a  sympathetic ear who will listen—a ‘listening post’.

It does not have to be a talkative person, for such  are not always good listeners. I found brother Phil a  good listener (he had lost his first wife under similar  circumstances) but he also now has fallen asleep.

Above all things, remember that God knows  and cares. He has permitted this. Do not fathom  the reasons. Accept it. He will tell us all in due  course. Yahweh has given us the strength to have  the victory over all things.

Your children will be a strength to you. All  the hours that you have together put into raising  a family will be amply repaid. They have been  one of my greatest strengths. Yes, they have needs  too—but your need is greater at present and where  there is a need there will be resources adequate to  meet the need. You will not understand how strong  they are until they have the opportunity to rise to  the occasion. Tap that source of strength.

In a little while—take a holiday. One that is  restful, but active enough to let you feel that you  have accomplished something. Again, do not  overdo it. Work within your limitations.

My brother, I have tried to be positive in my  advice to you. I have, perhaps, some idea how you  feel and have tried to convey this as well as can  be done on paper. No doubt there are many other  things that could be said but this is sufficient for  now. For the present remember this—in those close  marriages like yours and mine, husband and wife  grow closer together as, over time, they face life  united. When one dies, and I say this with difficulty,  they must grow apart. We both know that “she”  is not here any more. Yes, the experiences were  real, the relationship was real—and we have been  changed by it closer to the image of our God. Yet  it is His glorious son that we yearn to see. Meditate  on his holy character—see his very actions—“read”  his mind in the Scriptures—look for him daily.  He is real. In the day of his coming, not only will  there be a joyous re-union, but fullness of joy in  his presence.

May the God of all comfort and strength enfold  His loving arms around you and provide.

Your brother in hope of the early appearing of  our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,