“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Cor. 13:12
The current life expectancy for citizens in the U.S is 78.93 years old. That is not going to be the story for Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven others that were on board a helicopter that crashed Sunday morning near Los Angeles. The devastating news broke out shortly after, and endless fans, family, and loves ones have spoken out about the unexpected tragedy.
Kobe Bryant belonged to the LA Lakers for his entire 20-year NBA career and became the 4th highest scoring player in NBA history.
The truth is, Kobe was a lot of things in his life: a husband, a father, a hero, an icon, and whether people personally knew him or not, for many he felt like a beloved confidant and friend.
For the friends and family of the lives lost on Sunday, their lives will forever be changed. They will be eternally marked by this event. Our deepest sorrows go out to each of their families as they mourn and navigate a new way of life, absent of the ones engraved in the very beat of their hearts.
Friends, the thing is, death was never in the plan. Helicopter crashes were never in God’s narrative. Sudden tragedy is not God’s best for us. Yet, here we are, wondering the million-dollar question with tears in our eyes: Why?
Why was a 41-year-old father and husband and 13-year-old daughter taken? And for the other passengers: why were two parents and a daughter ripped away from this earth, leaving their two other children parentless?
These are questions that are even heartbreaking to have to ask.
There’s so much we don’t know. But as the people of God, what are we to say? That simply “we don’t know”? Absolutely not. There are SO many questions that we, as children of God, are wrestling with. SO many things that we don’t have answers for. And that is part of walking with a God who knows more than we can comprehend. But brothers and sisters, we know more than we think. We know the promises of God.
During any time of loss and tragedy, we are allowed to speak out the truth that we do know, share the hope that we’ve found, and with the love and comfort we’ve been given, we must also give and pour out.
So what does the church say? As the people of God, how do we face this reality of death and not run from it? How can we be the presence of Jesus in the midst of sorrow in this broken and hurting world?
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13
As followers of Jesus, we have FULL access to the God who is in control. When we pray, God hears us. When we pray, we join in with God’s heart. If loss breaks your heart, it breaks God’s all the more. God hates death and heartache and deep loss. When you pray, you are joining forces with a God who cares deeply for his children. Plead with God to bring comfort, divine moments, and peace to all families and friends impacted by death.
2. Listen and Comfort:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Cor. 1:3-5
Death is one of the most painful things we can experience in our life. Mourning is a huge part of loss. We must grieve, mourn, and go through the deepest pain to let God bring us hope and peace. But we see here that Jesus is showing through him, we have access to the God of all comfort and we can be sources of His comfort to the people around us. So many times we back away because we don’t know what to say. This is a time when words are not needed, your presence is. With that, it is important that we are quick to show up and listen, not always be quick to speak. Let God deeply comfort others through you.
3. Speak Truth:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” 1Peter 3:18
Friends, as we mentioned, we should be quick to listen and comfort to those who are grieving. But knowing this truth, we should always be prayerful of opportunities to share that our death on earth doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
Jesus hates death and that is why he came to earth: to defeat it on our behalf. Jesus put eternal death TO death on the cross once and for all and each of us have an opportunity to bring the truth of eternal life to those around us.
4. Offer Hope:
“He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” Revelation 21:4
Our world isn’t becoming any less broken any time soon, but our eternal home also isn’t going anywhere either. We have hope in the unseen, even in the midst of the worst, seemingly unbearable pain on earth. This hope does not put us to shame or turn us away to come back another day. This hope doesn’t run out. This hope promises us that a day is coming where the brokenness will cease, the unknown will fade away, and our loves ones are restored in the presence of Jesus.
We’ll close with the words of Kobe: “We’ve been through our ups and we’ve been through our downs. I think the most important part is that we all stay together throughout….. All I can do here is just thank you guys for the years of support, the years of motivation, the inspiration… Mamba out.”
*This post is dedicated to all nine passengers from Sunday’s helicopter crash. May you rest in peace.