I'm talking about the feeling that one feels when they have lost a loved one. Now, I've lost a few people in my life that have shaped who I am today. The first major loss I ever experienced was the man who now sits encapsulated in a small golden frame with cracked glass on my desk in my office - my grandpa. He's one of the reasons that I preach, not for the fact that he encouraged me to do so but because he, like the majority alive today, was not blessed with salvation based upon a faithful life in Christ (cf. Galatians 3:27, Revelation 2:10).
We've all felt it. Maybe more than others, but we've all felt it.
Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, is one of those who have survived loved ones but her story is somewhat different than my own. You see, in a matter of 10 years she lost her husband, her son Chilion and her other son Mahlon, leaving her with absolutely no one and a feeling of emptiness. In fact, the Bible goes as far as to hint that she began to feel as though she had lost her entire being because the men in her life were now all gone (Ruth 1:5, Bethlehem Road by Michael Whitworth - p. 33) and that she was nothing more than the shell of the woman she once was, ready to be thrown out with the next trash heap without any thought.
Maybe Naomi has something to teach us, however. When faced with the death of all those closest to her, she remained focused on the goal before her. That goal had changed somewhat, from leaving Israel to move to Moab because of a famine to keep her and Elimelech's, her husband, family safe in a time of need to going home to be with the only people on earth who just might be able to be called family, but nonetheless she was looking for that bond of family and needed that in her life. That was her goal, to be part of a family.
The congregations of the body of Christ are called a family (cf. Galatians 6:10, 1 Corinthians 3:9). I'm not saying that the only way a person can weather the hardships of losing loved ones is to be a Christian, I believe that people can handle death to some extent outside of Christ. What I am saying is that there's no better way when faced with the inevitable curse of life outside the Garden than to seek out and maintain relationships with those of the Body.
Can I make a suggestion to those of us who are reading this that may be experiencing these feelings of emptiness or loss right now, don't try to go at it alone. Naomi didn't, and you shouldn't either. God has placed a group of people on this earth who love one another (Hebrews 13:1), care for one another's souls (Galatians 6:2), wants to encourage you to faithfulness (Hebrews 10:24) and genuinely wants to help, so go to them. There's a reason why we called living past the death of a loved one "surviving" them, because it's possible to live on without them but not without help.
If you're not a member of the body of Christ, then while you are seeking out the encouragement of the Christians in your area, I want you to think seriously about becoming part of the Family. It will probably be difficult, Naomi definitely did not have an easy time going home to be with what family she had left (cf. Ruth 2:2) but it was worth it when she found the family she had been needing, and you will have to deny yourself (Matthew 16:24) but you'll then be able to rest assured knowing that God is with you!