Today I went to visitation for a friend of mine. As I sat there observing all the interactions among the family and other visitors, I realized there are two distinct types of funerals — those with joy and those without.
True, there is sadness and heartbreak at every funeral. Sometimes the grief is so overwhelming, you can’t tell the type of funeral you’re attending. But, time provides clairity and once the craziness of the moment passes, you can tell if God was allowed to provide joy to those who have to continue on.
Joy and happiness, though they sound very similar, are very different. Happiness is usually caused by a thing or experience. Perhaps a motorcycle makes you happy, but a motorcycle can be stolen, damaged, or lost. I usually think of “fragil” when I think of happiness. What makes you happy today may be gone tomorrow.
Joy, however, is a feeling from within. It can never be stolen, damaged, or lost. There are several beautiful stories of prisoners of war who even while being mistreated and abused still had a joy that could not be taken away. Joy comes from God, from having a relationship with God.
Back to funerals — a funeral for a ‘Christ-centered’ person, even though sad, still has an element of joy. The joy can be felt, and sometimes seen, in the attitude of the mourners. The joy comes from knowing that death is only a step into the next life of paradise. Christ provides the joy in sad situations. Christ alone gives hope in a hopeless situation.
Jesus said, “Oh death where is your sting?” He was able to ask this rhetorical question because His life was sufficient to make death powerless. Death can now be a celebration for those of us who have experienced God’s Son! I find a lot of joy in knowing that death has no power over me!
Will there be joy at your funeral?