My wife's grandmother — the one whose sudden illness caused the unexpected trip to Missouri — passed on in the wee hours Friday morning. She lived a good, long life, and she was ready to go, so the family's as at peace with things as they can be. But we weren't sure how our six-year-old would take it. (The little one really doesn't know what's going on.)
When mommy sat down to tell her Grandma had died, my little girl's reaction caught us by surprise:
"You mean she's gone to be with Jesus? That's awesome!"
I do believe she gets it.
We grieve. It's natural to miss those we love and will not see for decades. But we expect to see them again. From the beginning Christians have described it as "falling asleep" because we know it's temporary.
So we grieve, but not like "the rest of men, who have no hope." We grieve with the knowledge that death has been conquered. We grieve with the assurance that one day creation will be what it was meant to be and that we will have renewed bodies in a world with no more crying, no more pain, and no more death. We grieve as people who know death is the step before being with the Lord forever.
"Therefore encourage each other with this words" (1Thes 4.18).