Written: Feb. 14, 2016
The loss of a loved one brings so many new and unexpected experiences. The boys were with me this weekend, and we were able to see together the headstone that has been newly placed on Raouf’s grave. The ground still shows the dirt turned up from his burial just 10 weeks ago, so that while in some ways it seems ages away, I’m reminded of the freshness of my loss.
I told the boys that seeing the granite marker with their dad’s name brings a kind of finality to the reality of his death. It’s permanent. He’s actually buried in this spot of earth. His name is here like so many thousands around him — a life lived, a soul passed.
Yet, as I reflected on that seemingly cold reality this morning, I realized that the name and dates on that marker are more than just a number in the cemetery — they reflect a person, a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, pastor, teacher, missionary, evangelist, mentor, engineer, speaker, writer, counselor, lover of God. For this is Raouf Ghattas. This is the person who will be remembered by the countless lives who were blessed to have known him, learn from him and be loved by him.
What a blessing we have as followers of Christ to know that the grave is not the end but the beginning of an eternity with God. The cross on that marker means something to the life that lies under the stone — it means that this life is marked not by death but by life everlasting! Praise the Name of Jesus who died and defeated the sting of death by His resurrection!