HOPE AND LIGHT, by Jerrod Lowry

Last November, my wife died after a three-month battle with COVID-19. For sixty days she fought for her life in a coma before succumbing to complications from the disease. During that time, I grieved as I prayed for her survival. I grieved as she missed moving our oldest daughter into her dorm for her freshman year of college. I grieved as she missed our boys’ sporting events. I grieved even as I made optimistic plans to incorporate breathing aids and apparatuses into our homes and our lives. Those were dark days.

Then, on November 2nd, 2021, her body stopped functioning and my grief deepened as I said goodbye. We were together for 20 years, married for 19. I can’t begin to explain the pain I felt in her absence.

All of this happened in the midst of a two-year pandemic that drastically impacted all of our lives in some way. Maybe you lost a loved one, a friend, or a colleague. If you don’t know someone who suffered such a loss, you now know me. We all grieve in one way or another.

As a church leader, I see the impact on congregations I serve. Churches planning to build or remodel are finding that supplies are limited and their cost greatly increased. For various reasons, many have stopped attending worship since the pandemic began, affecting congregations that were already struggling to survive. I know of pastoral voices that have chosen other vocations or have endured crises of faith. I have witnessed congregational governing boards argue whether or not they should implement safety measures, fearing this might be seen as a political statement or allegiance. And at this writing, I can’t say whether we are still in the midst of a pandemic or whether the virus has become endemic. I can say with certainty that this has been a season dominated by darkness, difficulty, and distress. We have been collectively and individually grieving.

For our grief, I wish to remind us that Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Included in his statement is the assurance that we do not live in dark desolation. In this world there is light. Even when all feels lost, there is light that pierces the gloom. Knowing that Christ, Emmanuel, walks before us is a sign of hope in this broken world. Similarly, knowing that there are people who will walk with me is another sign of hope for my broken heart. Their companionship cannot take away the pain of grief, but their presence does provide comfort that cannot be measured.

So today, I grieve and give thanks for the glimmers of grace that shine in my darkness. They are a steadfast reminder that I am not alone.

When your days are darkest, I pray that you are comforted by the assurance of Christ that there is a light that shines in the darkest times. When your grief is heaviest, may you find comfort in the promise that the Prince of Peace, the Emmanuel, abides and brings a peace that can surpass all understanding. When you feel alone, may you realize the love of so many that walk with you. May these be sources of hope.

Reverend Jerrod B. Lowry serves as the General Presbyter/Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Before this call, he served churches in Sandy, Utah, and Louisburg, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary and currently serves on its Board of Trustees. Jerrod loves football, has developed a tolerance for running, and enjoys “playing at golf.” Regrettably, he is a lifelong fan of all professional Cleveland sports teams. He was married to his college sweetheart, Molly (a Carolina girl) for 19 years. Together they have three kids—Kerryn, Kaleb, and Kendle.

One thought on “HOPE AND LIGHT, by Jerrod Lowry

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I can relate as I suffered a major loss myself. “… glimmers of grace…” I too am grateful for all the ways God gets me through each day. Peace to you and yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s