That is one major thing I have learned over the past two years. I remember thinking just a few short years ago how strange it was that no one close to me had ever married or died. Well, not really a few short years ago, about seven or eight. Then, my best friend got married and my grandpa died. Now it had jumped from far off, to close. Then, Rick's sister lost her precious baby girl at 6 months or so gestation, our good friends lost their six year old son, and my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now death was my life.
At first this was very uncomfortable. Of course. It was stifling, suffocating and foreboding. Then, step by step the Lord took me on a journey into the depths of his wonderful plan for me and I began to grow. I began to absorb truth like a sponge and the reality of God's plans for his church, his bride, became my very hope and breath and is to this day. My salvation had a purpose instead of being just an end. It had a goal, eternity, heaven. In that goal I began to find joy right in the midst of painful death. I watched my dad wither away physically until there was so little left of him. I watched his smile and sparkling eyes fade. I watched him hold on to the truths he had known for so long. I talked to him a lot about ....death. I became friends with death. I became okay with it.
"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain" Jesus(sorry for the fopah ladies, I meant Paul! Jesus would concur however!:)
No longer were these words to me that I just knew rattling off in my head.....they were startling truth. No one in the world today would ever want to say that death is gain. Even many Christians are not willing to talk about it. I learned how death is gain. I learned how different that made me from the world, and I learned about joy. Joy was the untainted happiness in the middle of the worst seeming circumstances I could there to imagine. I had never walked down a darker road, and yet, never had I seen the light of hope shine brighter. That light has stayed with me ever since and I consider my dad's death a gift in that regard. He would be so glad to sit and hear what all the Lord has taught me because of his passing...he would say it was very, very good. He would say "Yes, that's true". I relish that thought.
I forgot about the preface in the HEAVEN book. I forgot to add that in my reading. It was all I read today and here was the highlighted thought for today. It's shaking:
"Ancient merchants often wrote the words memento mori - "think of death"- in large letters on the first page of their accounting books. Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, commissioned a servant to stand in his presence each day and say, "Philip, you will die." In contrast, France's Louis XIV decreed that the word death not be uttered in his presence. Most of us are more like Louis than Philip, denying death and avoiding the thought of it except when it's forced upon us. We live under the fear of death.
Jesus came to deliver us from the fear of death, "so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Heb 2:14-15)
What delivers us from the fear of death? What takes away death's sting? Only a relationship with the person who died on our behalf, the one who has gone ahead to make a place for us to live with him. If we don't know Jesus, we will fear death and it's sting-- and we should."
(Randy Alcorn "HEAVEN" preface page xxi-xxi)
Don't forget the polls to the right!