Will buying a zoo help?
There is a saying that only two things in life are guaranteed – death and taxes. The saying is half right. Every one of us will suffer the loss of someone we love, and in that horrible moment those left behind will ask many questions. Why did this happen? What could I have done to stop it? Why did God allow this? What did I do to deserve this?
The movie We Bought A Zoo is based on the true story of Benjamin Mee, a man who loses his wife to cancer and is left to raise their two children alone. Ignoring his pain and his misery, he tries to move forward but finds that everything around him reminds him of his wife. He takes the drastic step of moving and buying a zoo in order to completely transform his surroundings and escape the pain he has refused to face.
Getting through it
People will often try to find a reason for their pain, so they can somehow avoid it in the future. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding this kind of pain. We will lose those we love, or those we love will lose us. The only people that avoid it are those that never love, which is an even worse fate. The best we can do is to learn how to get through it.
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Mourning is natural
In ancient times, men didn’t live long, and death and loss were far more common than today. To get through it, they developed a process called mourning, a time when they would feel and express their sorrow. When Isaac died, he was mourned for 70 days (Genesis 50:3), Moses for thirty days. (Deuteronomy 34:8)
When they mourned, they wailed, they cried, and they allowed others to comfort them.
Job 2:13 “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
Does anyone understand?
But ultimately those that comfort you won’t be able take away your pain. The best they can do is to encourage you through the journey that only you can take. The world around you will almost seem to taunt you, continuing as it always has, oblivious to your loss.
You are not alone
The sun will shine, the birds will sing, and none of it will seem like it was meant for you. If the sun was meant for you, you feel like it would be dark, and the birds would be silent.
It’s only natural that in that time you will feel completely misunderstood and utterly alone. But as cliché as it sounds, you are not alone and you are not misunderstood. There is someone who understands EXACTLY what you are feeling.
Isaiah 51:12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.”
Rock, fortress, deliverer
A woman’s brother was near death, and she called on her friend to save him, because He had cured many other people, but her friend got there too late, and her brother died. Her brother’s name was Lazarus, and her friend’s name was Jesus.
When Jesus arrived, He knew before He was told that Lazarus was dead. Though no one knew it, He had come there specifically to bring Lazarus back to life. He knew that in mere minutes, Lazarus would be standing among them and their sorrow would turn to Joy, but as He walked with them towards the tomb, He cried.
Taking their pain away
He cried so hard that those around Him marveled at how much Jesus loved and missed Lazarus. But they were wrong. He cried because He felt their pain, and when they arrived at the tomb, He completely took their pain away.
Psalm 18:2 "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
He will dry your tears
The Lord will cry with you on your journey, and when it is complete, He will completely take your pain away. He mourns with you, and understands and loves you in ways that no one else could. His promise to you is that every tear will be dry, and every cry will turn to laughter.
Find hope in the knowledge that God is all powerful, and He didn’t just create a universe of heat, earth, water, and life with no purpose. He knew exactly what He was doing, and exactly what would happen as He did it.
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
God's plan is perfect
The same detail He put into a galaxy, He put into a literal universe of atoms and cells that made up you. God’s plan is perfect but without you in it, it wasn’t God’s plan. You are vital to Him as your loved one is vital to Him.
He wants to get you through this
You are so important that if you were the only person on earth who ever lived, Christ would still die to save you. To Him, the chance to love you forever was worth dying for.
God wants to get you through this.
Lean on Him and seek Him in your pain, and you will. And eventually the sun will be bright for you once more.
Benjamin Mee survived his terrible grief in the book and film We Bought a Zoo … and in real life.
His is a story of hope and new beginnings – of losing someone truly loved and accepting that there is no moving on.
Instead, we continue to live … finding joy even though the emptiness will never be filled.