Today I grieve at the passing away of a dear friend and sister in the Lord, Naomie Montes. She’s young, barely out of college, beautiful and smart. I’ve known her since she was in grade school. She was practically a family to me because her father, Pastor Danny Montes, allowed me to stay in their home when I was in college.
She’s gone. I received the text message early today. I cried. I called her parents, I called her aunt Ms Ruth Ramirez, I called our common friends. It’s confirmed.
There’s something particularly painful about her passing away because she’s only 23 years old and she’s only just beginning to discover life. Older people should never have to bury the younger ones. It’s cruel. It’s not natural. But then again, we are Christians. We are a people of hope. We grieve, yes, but we grieve with hope. And our hope rests on nothing less than Jesus Christ Himself, the Lord of Resurrection and the Life.
Hope is a word of grace. It brings comfort to our grief. It serves as balm to our pain. It sanctifies our tears. It gives us an anchor to hold on to as we toss around with grief and crying. Ms Ramirez’ text message carried hope behind the lines: “Tua na sa langit si Naome.” Naome’s in heaven. I could only say a silent Amen.
Fare you well my little sister Naomie. You may be absent from this life here on earth but you are now present with the Lord, beholding a glory that is still veiled from us. As we, in grief, go on to prepare for the funeral, I am reminded of an old song that says, “in the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore…” Someday we’ll see you again. Someday we’ll see you in glory when we get to heaven to meet our Savior. There will be no more crying there.
But until then we grieve. We mourn the loss of a friend, a daughter, a sister. May the Lord grant us the grace not to grieve as those who have no hope. May He give us the faith to confess: “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”