Thursday, May 1, 2008

Become Comfortable With Death

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!


Zimms Zoo said...

I still haven't gotten the book you recommended, but it is on my list for the summer.
I fear death, the actual act of dying. I worked in a nursing home for 2 years and watching people die, sometimes alone, gasping for their last breathes scared me and I still carry that with me.
I need to release it and turn it over to God.

Alicia said...

Thank you for sharing and being honest. It would be hard to take those images with you all your life. My mom worked in nursing homes before she had a career change due to a major back injury. It is somewhat of a depressing job. I think the depression is when they don't know the Lord. Without Jesus death is terrifying, depressing... with him it is a transition of victory! We pass from sinful into a eternal exhistance where sin cannot touch us in any way! Imagine that.
All that fear in actual moment of death, the pain, the huge mystery of what actually lies beyond the corridor (sp?), all that death is will be swallowed up in victory! Fear to the physical act of passing is normal, my dad experienced it. My mom would worry whether she should run to the grocery store or not, she feared him dying alone. God was good to her in this way and he died right in her arms in the sunshine of the window on a Thrusday morning. Sometimes it is not like that but if we know the Lord (perfect love, with us) it will cast out fear. We will only see the savior reaching out to us and we will be eager to take his hand.
I am so excited you plan to read this book. The beauty even imagined by us is so wonderful it can change our emotional reaction to death and highlight all the truth about heaven we are given that we may not even have realized was there!

Alicia said...

I want to add something for you to be encouraged by Christy. The bible says that "precious in the sight of God is the passing of his dear ones." I need to find you a referance for that (I am good at the content, not the references). The fact is, like all other trials in our life, God will meet us in out time of need if we belong to him. You don't need the courage of facing death today, unless the time arrives (please don't think I'm trying to scare you!:). We are given the grace for what we need at the time we need it. You can in the mean time rest your mind in the truth through books like this that present the word of God to you on the subject of death and heaven. When we put our eyes of faith on (read quote in top right corner of blog) we have overwhelming peace. Eyes of faith, hearts of truth, swords of spirit and word of God....all are armor against fear. "God has not given you a spirit of fear but of Power, Love and a SOUND MIND". His word will combat our fear if we put it in our hears and drink deeply from that well. It refreshes us, energizes us, and gives us just what our souls need, living water....JESUS the author and perfector of our faith. WOW, author and perfector, the perfector being the work of the holy spirit to continue the work i nour hearts that Jesus started by his finished redeptive sacrafice. Part of that perfecting is our developing understanding of what he has for those who love him and the peace that overcomes fear!

Zimms Zoo said...

I know that in my mind it just takes a long for my heart to absorb it. Thanks for the encouragement.

Alicia said...

yes, and that's okay. :)

tricia w. said...

I want to read the book. I do not know when I will have time. My list of things I want to read is growing. I am going to try to read it to the kids this summer. I think we have the kids version.