I feel like death surrounds me intimately. Not my own death, but the death of loved ones and loved ones of friends. My heart aches for us in our losses, for the Lord told us that we would live in so much love that we would mourn the passing of those we loved (D&C 42:45). Indeed:
“The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.”
-Russel M. Nelson (Doors of Death, General Conference, April 1992)
But we cannot take the love out of life! We must live it! We must love those whom we love.
We must love.
Yet, in death we who still live mourn. In the midst of such sorrow I feel inspired to share this truth:
God doesn’t take any righteous soul from this Earth until their work is done.
Said another way: “From an eternal perspective, death is premature only for those who are not prepared to meet God” (Now Is the Time to Prepare, Russel M. Nelson, General Conference, April 2005).
This truth has given me great comfort when faced with tragedy and the loss of loved ones. Even as my soul breaks from their absence, I know truth. I know there is a plan for every soul, for great is the worth of every soul to God (You Matter to Him, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference, October 2011). There is an eternal plan by the great creator for all which He hath created. Even as we were created in the heavens by God, He created a plan of happiness for his children that we may, through his son Jesus Christ, partake of eternal joy with him!
It was planned!
“In his plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.” ~Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It was planned from the beginning for our spirits to come to Earth and receive physical bodies. To learn. To Grow. And to die. At death there is a waiting time for spirits: those of the righteous will have rest from their cares and sorrows of this life. But that time, like this one, is temporary. For the Lord God sent His son Jesus Christ that all mankind might live again and have immortal bodies in the resurrection. That is the great victory over death!
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Yes we die, yet we shall live again. And for the righteous it shall be a grand and glorious resurrection as we receive perfect bodies and are again reunited with those whom we love. For this is the great purpose and driving force in the universe: that God so loved the world that he planned for us! He sacrificed his only begotten son for us! And one day we will receive all that the Son has promised us if we but believe in Him and follow His teachings. “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7).
Death is not forever. Neither is our sorrow!
Thus we see that death is not eternal sorrow for the righteous, but a necessary step towards our final becoming of wholeness and light! “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:24).
“We have a champion, a savior, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death on our behalf.” – Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Death is not forever! I am reminded of my favorite, and often quoted, quote from college: “Everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out it’s not the end!” Just as death is not forever, neither is our sorrow!
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
Joy cometh in the morning!
In times of grief it feels as though you will never experience happiness or peace ever again. Laughter can feel hollow, and our hearts are weighed down. But God didn’t create us for sorrow! He created us to have joy! “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne 2:25).
“…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Never to be parted again!
I look forward to that great day of resurrection with hope; when I shall be gathered together with all whom I love forever! Never to be parted again! That hope in my Savior lifts my soul so that I can experience the love and joy my Heavenly Father has for me in this life and in the next.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).
Let me leave you with these comforting thoughts: the savior makes ALL things RIGHT! “God didn’t design us to be sad. HE CREATED US TO HAVE JOY!” (Deiter F. Uchtdorf)
“… Men are that they might have joy.” (2 Ne 2:25) “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Ne 5:27).