When someone closer along the degree of separation goes on to be with the LORD, I think about the people directly affected. I really consider the younger ones. There's a line between the appropriate time to call or visit to offer condolences, and the sign of respect you show by allowing the family to have their private time. I know this because these situations make me flashback to my uncle and my cousins last year. Out of respect I'd want to call right away to console my friends, but at the same time, I know it will not be the best time for them to talk, only to repeat a similar interview. I still try to ascertain the best time to cross that line. I'd imagine it's much worse to never cross the line and failing to call.
At the appropriate time, people tend to say "you're in my prayers." Earlier this year, a friend's mother mother also went to be with the LORD, and I still wonder how much weight those words carried to her when she reunited with many people who had lost touch with her over the years. More importantly, do people really mean that when they say it. I hope so. Needless to say, she is in my prayers and today I'll add another friend to that prayer.
I remember when Pastor Bimbo Odukoya was killed in a plane accident in Nigeria in 2005. I just met her youngest daughter that summer, on a trip to Great America. She was probably about 15. We were told that as soon as the family learned of the fatal crash, they immediately began praying. To my understanding, they were praising and worshiping God for her life. When I would assume they would be mourning, and wondering how her teenage daughters would process not having their mother around for the rest of their life, their faith was so strong that they were praising God. That in and of itself was powerful to me and I will never forget that.
More times than not, death seems so unexpected, so unplanned, to us. We would like to think that God-fearing parents would get to live to their old age and see their childrens' children. Then once they get to their elderly age they would go on to be with the LORD. But whose plan is that? It just reinforces that He is in control. God knew everything that would happen up until our last day on this earth.
Although it is very shocking, we can't press pause to figure everything out or anticipate what's next. We will never know His ways completely. We can't press pause but we can press pray. It's more than an appropriate statement to say -- it's an action. The best thing to do is pray and continue praying. I would venture to say the words do not mean as much, but the actions will, regardless if they have actual knowledge of it or not. So it goes without saying, but I guess it's the only thing you can say at a time like this. We just have to do it.
Blessed be the name of The LORD.
My heart will chose to say, LORD, blessed be Your name.
Praying that God would comfort and strengthen a family of friends, as they mourn the loss of their mother, aunt, wife, and sister.