There are so many expressions we convey to others when someone passes away. "Gone to soon" is one of the most common, and is an unfortunate statement. "Gone too soon" is an empty platitude that actually undermines our faith and the hopefulness that we should always exude in our Lord Jesus Christ. We especially hear this when our loved one is someone considered young, or too young to be deceased already. For some reason, we seem to think that we are owed a long life, and when our loved one does not get that, they and have been short changed. Now, I understand how painful it is to lose someone when they seem too young to have been called home. It is extremely difficult and unbearable when the loss of life is a child or young adult, who seemingly had so much to live for, and to offer the world. It is very sad to say goodbye to our loved ones, because we are never quite ready, and the price of love is the grief we feel once they are finally gone from this world.
The problem with this phrase though, is that it totally eradicates our whole understanding of existence and the very foundation of our Faith. I know that it seems like a very innocuous statement, but it really is not. Basically, when someone makes this statement they are claiming that God is not in control, God is not in charge, and that we know better than God, and this loved one, shouldn’t be gone from us. I know, that seems like a stretch, but think about it. How does the statement, “gone too soon”, or “gone before her time” strengthen and demonstrate our love and trust in God, who although does not create evil situations, or anything that is not good; nevertheless allows them to happen. This entire universe is under God’s control and command. He is in charge. Nothing happens in this universe that He does not permit.. It seems cruel sometimes that he would allow certain occurrences that are so sick, twisted, horrible and catastrophic, but he does. Why? Who of us could or would ever be able to understand that with a mere mortal mind. We cannot fathom God’s eternal plan. I do know though, that God knows best. I also have been promised that like a woman in labor who forgets her pain, we will forget all our suffering and pain once we reach that ultimate prize of Heaven. If we reach that ultimate prize of Heaven.
"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."
Saint Teresa Of Avila — 'In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel.'
I am sure that St. Teresa did not mean to dismiss our sufferings and diminish how terribly difficult they are, but she meant to put them into perspective. A perspective we often loose here on this Earth. A perspective that should always be not far from our thoughts, minds, and understanding of life. Our time here is pretty short compared to eternity. What we partake in after death, really has everything to do with how we handle life, and everything that comes with it. We can use what life hurls at us to strengthen our relationship with God, or we can let it destroy that relationship. It is at our lowest that we find the truly glorious and supernatural.
St. Augustine claimed that God writes straight with crooked lines. God can take destruction and misery and make it beautiful. God is our life and our salvation. He gave us our lives, and he has every right to take our lives from us whenever he wants to. So, remember that the next time you are tempted to say “taken to soon”, because it really is a temptation from the evil one. The evil one, who revels in our dismissal of God’s will and plan from our minds and hearts. He thrusts us into the turmoil and anxiety of trying to control our lives, as if God is unable to handle things for us.
Gone do soon, is really gone before we are ready, as if we ever will be. Trust in God’s plan and God’s will. I know, it is a pretty big pill to swallow and I will be the first to falter at it. That is okay though, because God is patient and kind, and rich in mercy and compassion, if we try. He will get us through every storm, and when we feel he is the farthest away from us, it is then that he is the closest. Believe! Trust! And let Him carry you as he hopefully does your lost loved one. His mercy and care is really our choice, and beyond death, that choice is to late to be made.
Don’t let Satan distract you from the prayers and reflections that are due our dearly departed. Let’s pray that they can be delivered and enveloped into everlasting peace and joy. If we could truly understand and realize the eternal glory and joy that awaits the faithful and lovers of God, gone too soon would be revealed as not gone soon enough.