Faith, Hope, Loss, Perspective

Gone: Death . . . and Life

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

A person never expects to hear about the death of a friend’s child. Especially when that child only spent twenty-one years this side of heaven.

Just over a week ago, I learned that a friend’s daughter died unexpectedly. Gone. How does one even grapple with that?

Even as my One Word for the year is Live (as in to live well), my friend and her husband were forced to deal with death.

The death of a daughter/step-daughter. Death of relationship. Death of dreams. Death of visions like walking her down the aisle one day. Holding her babies. Of watching her grow on the journey that she had already begun into the full beauty of womanhood.

It’s hard to grasp that she is gone from this world, because she is still so alive in my heart. I still see her smile when I think of her family. My heart has had to be reminded of what my brain keeps trying to comprehend. She’s really gone from here . . . and probably laughing with Jesus right now.

Even on the morning after I learned this tragic news, God led me in my Bible reading to verses about life. Our days on this earth are filled with living . . . and dying. 

The thing is? Our Father sees beyond the now—beyond life in a physical sense—to the eternal. 

We’ve read the verses about how God knows the number of our days. It’s just hard to accept when that number seems so small. When that life was just getting started.

But God . . . 

He accomplished much through this young woman’s life. He touched the lives of her friends during her teen years. Many tributes on her social media walls speak to the impact her daily living had on their lives. How she changed them just by her being who she was, by caring for them, laughing with them, and “being there” for them.

I’ve tried to get a handle on the why’s of God’s allowing her to pass from this life to the next so quickly. And you know what?

I can’t understand it. 

What does one do when the God they thought they knew allows this kind of tragedy?

How does a person rectify the sudden loss of a precious life within the context of God being a “good God?”

The only answers I have are: 

~God’s character doesn’t change when unthinkable things happen in our lives. He still loves us. He is still good, even when He allows horrible things to happen. He is still faithful, even though what we experience doesn’t feel like this is true.

~And, as much as this may sound like a cliché, our God lives and moves beyond the framework of time that humans are confined to. He views our lives through an eternal perspective. All we understand is life on earth. He knows life on earth, but He sees so far beyond that. 

And, even when things happen in our lives that hurt more deeply than we could have imagined . . . 

Even when we are forced to walk through our greatest fears . . . 

Even when it seems like God has abandoned us . . .

He is still walking as close as our next breath. He is the God of all comfort. He still gives us strength when our greatest fears become reality. And He stills lives out the promise that He’ll never, never leave or forsake us. 

He will bring us through.

~Our God is a God who loves fiercely. He is never-changing. So, even when life tilts our perspective, our Father still stands steady as our firm foundation.   

There’re a myriad of questions swirling in my head. But I keep coming back to the truth that God is God and I am not. He doesn’t expect us to understand His ways. 

We can choose to embrace Him in the pain and find comfort and unexpected strength. Or, we can turn away and find the pain multiplied through isolation and bitterness over time.

I don’t have the answers. I only realize that one aspect of true faith is clinging tightly to what we know about God when everything seems to point in the opposite direction. 

And the thing is? Death never has the final word. Life does. My friend’s girl is more alive than ever in heaven. And, in time, those who loved her most on earth will find seeds of life sprouting up through the the grief of her death.

So, as my friend and her family walk through this horrible hard, I will continue to pray for them as they live out each day. I will look for ways to encourage them as they begin to define what life looks like as they now know it.  

What about you? How do you navigate the hardest seasons of life? What strengthens you during painful times?

Click to Tweet: God lives and moves beyond the framework of time that humans are confined to.

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

35 thoughts on “Gone: Death . . . and Life”

  1. My soul wants to cry for aid
    under a lowering sky.
    But that’s not how this game is played,
    for I am marked to die.
    The boon of palliative care
    was never meant for me;
    and it’s in no way unfair
    because now, on bended knee
    I can behold in full a gentle Grace;
    pain’s opened divinity’s door
    and gave me glimpse of smiling Face;
    how could I ask for more?
    The clouds may be so grey above,
    but over them, shines Holy Love.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jeanne, I am so sorry for the loss these parents must face and prayed for them this morning. This post is filled with such encouraging thoughts which are sure to bless any who are struggling with loss. So many times, we do not have the answers and can only hold onto God, knowing that He holds everything about our lives in His hands.


    1. Thank you, Joanne, for your thoughts and your prayers. You’re so right. So often, we can only hold onto God and what we know to be true about Him. And there is comfort knowing He holds everything about our lives in His hands.


  3. Jeanne, this is deep even for you. I Love This. Our extended family lost 5 people in 2018. We could not have made it if we hadn’t known that this life is not all there is. It’s a training ground, a kindergarten, a boot camp for what is to come. And I love your big, big view of God. “So, even when life tilts our perspective, our Father still stands steady as our firm foundation.” This is huge.


    1. Thank you, Kathy. I am truly sorry for your losses in 2018. That’s a lot of people in the span of a year. There is comfort in knowing that this place is not the end. This life isn’t over eternally, even when we breathe our last breath on earth. Thank you for your encouraging words, friend.


  4. What a sad loss for your community, J. We can’t lean on our own understanding, yet it’s natural to question. “We can choose to embrace Him in the pain and find comfort and unexpected strength.” Such wise words! I know I can be a pain avoider, however God taught us the way through when we go to Him.


    1. So true, Lynn. We should never lean on our own understanding. But, especially when big, heart-breaking things happen in our lives, we need to turn to the One who knows all and sees all. I tend to try to avoid pain, too. 🙂 But, I’ve learned that it’s only in leaning into the pain that I have found freedom and comfort from my Abba.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So true that God’s character does not change, even when the unthinkable has happened. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I know you will be pouring out love on your friends in the coming days. Blessings to you as you try to speak comfort in the midst of deep sadness.


    1. Michele, thank you for your words. Yes, lots of prayers are going up for my friend’s family. And, lots of prayers are going up from me to Jesus to be led by Him to bless them in ways they need that I may not know about in advance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hugs as you grieve, dear Jeanne. I love your attitude and your post. This is timely. Whenever something awful happens, I choose to trust God no matter what my feelings are doing. Faith must drive the bus–not feelings.
    Blessings ~ Wendy xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wendy, it’s so important to not let the feelings drive the bus, isn’t it? Choosing to trust in God—no matter what—is the best way to get through the heartbreaking circumstances this life throws at us. Praying for you, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Your thoughts on tragedy are profound and beautiful. God does not change when terrible things happen. He is always good and always here for us. Blessings to you and your friend.


  8. As we age we become faced with the realities of the circle of life but we never expect this to happen to the young. Especially when the young are ones we know. We have to trust God’s timing and His love for us. May you all feel His love through this terrible time and reflect on the beauty of her legacy.


    1. Anita, so true. We don’t expect to be burying the generation following us. You’re right we need to trust God’s timing for each event that happens in our lives, and we need to believe He loves us, even when the worst things happen. Thank you for your prayers.


  9. So sorry to hear this. When things go wrong, I cling to the truth of His Word. He never changes. He is in control. He knows best. Notice I used the word cling. At times, it is all I can do. Lovely post, Jeanne.


    1. Thank you, Gail. God and His word is really the only solid things we can cling to when life tilts sideways. I’m so glad He never changes, that He is in control and that He knows best. Cling is one of my favorite words. I appreciate you stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of this young woman, Jeanne. Praying for you and for her family and friends as they grieve and try to come to terms with it all. I agree, we can never really understand why these things happen but I love the truths about God that we can hold onto in times like these even in the midst of our sorrow and uncertainty.


  11. Oh Jeanne, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend’s daughter. I pray God will hold you and all of them up in His loving arms of comfort. This truth has been helping me get through painful things we can’t understand – “God’s character doesn’t change when unthinkable things happen in our lives. He still loves us. He is still good, even when He allows horrible things to happen. He is still faithful, even though what we experience doesn’t feel like this is true.” Thank you for reminding me of it. Love and blessings to you!


  12. Beautiful, Jeanne. I’m so sorry for the losses, for loss. There is no certain answer … but I cry till I can’t cry anymore. And then God helps me take one step at a time until the hands on the clock pass and the pain subsides. ❤


    1. Thanks for your kind words, Shelli. You’re right. There is no certain answer. But our God is faithful to walk with us in each step we take, isn’t He? Thanks for your insight, friend.


  13. I’m so sorry that this happened to your friend’s young daughter. It’s never easy to stand in the gap for something so unexpected. Life is fickle and yet God knows the hairs on our head and he numbers our days. Why? We may never get the answers but we trust him who created life. Me too. I lost two family members in the last week … sister-in-law only 53 years old to cancer and nephew’s mother-in-law only 60s to unexplained and undiagnosed disease. Can’t even wrap my head around this yet. The mother in law was a close friend who loved and served God whole heartedly. Funeral hadn’t happened yet and I may not be able to attend as we are on vacation in Florida. Such is life and death.


    1. Pirkko, first, I am so very sorry you’ve lost loved ones, especially so close in time to each other. Those losses are painful. I am thankful God knows the most intimate details of our lives, and He knows how to comfort each person in the way they best understand it. It must be hard to be so far away with all of that happening. I’m saying a prayer for you, my friend.


  14. What a difficult loss for her family and friends. It is hard to make sense of the why and when of life and death when it happens so young. In the middle of the heartache, you still point us back to God, His grace, and eternal love. Your words are truly beautiful.


    1. Thank you for your words, Mary. The thing I continue to come back to is that God’s plans are always good. And He is always present and faithful. Sending you hugs, my friend.


  15. Dear Jeanne, I am so sorry for this great loss that’s impacting you all. At times like these, there are no words. They seem intrusive somehow and so futile.

    But there is love. And I send you mine today.

    And prayer. That I can do, too …

    Jesus wept.


  16. Oh, Jeanne … I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend’s daughter. It is a hard and precious privilege to support dear ones when they go through such tragedies … I know your friendship will be a comfort to this family in the days and years to come. Hugs, friend.


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