Thursday, July 16, 2015

joy in the sorrow

Part of life, is death.  We all experience death at some point.  The death of loved one, and even face it ourselves.  The death of a loved one can be hard. I attended a funeral this weekend of a dear lady and it got me to thinking about how God is always present and His love carries us even through our losses. Seven years ago, I lost my mother. She was very precious and the greatest mom.  I was talking with a dear lady this evening about the loss of her husband. We were sharing about how God was there and carried us through that loss. While we mourn our loss, we rejoiced together in the knowledge that the Hand of God was there.  She shared with me about how God had spoken to her and told her that morning and told her she would never see her husband again.  She told me details about how she had read a scripture he carried in his wallet just the day before. She read it several times.

Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When she heard the news the next morning, her first response was "Thank you Jesus!" because this verse flooded back to her and she realized he would never be separated from the Jesus. He was with him.  Those with her thought she had lost it!  While she mourned his loss, she could also rejoice in knowing he was with His Savior.  They had just given their hearts and lives to God just six months prior to the accident that claimed his life. She was able to stand on the word of God and recognized the hand of God operating right where she needed it. Even down the song he was listening to when he passed. 

When my mother passed away. It was a hard moment, but God was there. My parents were traveling.  They had spent Sunday preaching in Mississippi and had left Monday morning to head to Alabama.  On that little two lane highway, Revelation 22:12 was posted on a billboard, 
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
A head on collision claimed my mother's life just moments later.  God knew that time was coming.  He had arranged for emergency providers to be on the scene with a nurse on her way to work, EMTs on their way to work and an off-duty officer two cars behind.  My dad survived with some serious injury.  I shared with my friend about how God's love and peace felt like a bubble surrounding us.  It is so hard to describe.  But I felt His presence so strong. Even as I mourned a great loss, I could  find much evidence of God's love right there.  He was so real and strong when I was weak.  
This last week, as I attended the funeral of this dear lady: a wife of a pastor, a mother, grandmother, friend to all,  I was again struck by the fact that even in the loss, God was present.  He was there as she passed and there to comfort those left here. Words, songs and a message from a man of God about how her time of juggling all the cares of life was over and now she could sit at the feet of Jesus for eternity.  She had chosen the good part. 

I guess overall, I am comforted to know that God loves us so much that even through loss, he does not abandon us.  What is death for a child of God? In reality, it is birth into our eternity. We are released from this life of cares and concerns into the ever glorious presence of the one our soul longs for. We are  released from troubles and trials, work and worries, into an eternity of peace and love.

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Why would the death of a saint be precious?  It means that that saint will be with him forever.  No more  worry.  It is like birth.  When a baby moves from the womb into this world, there is struggle and sorrow for the mother. There is pain,  but it brings that baby into her arms and into her life. Just as death brings sorrow and pain, it also brings a soul into the loving arms of the Savior. 

Ecclesiastes 3
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

God reminded me that there a time and purpose for every season in our lives.  We are all here for a short time. We do not have forever here on earth, but we have eternity to consider.  
Some people say, "we only live once," as a reason for their poor choices of behavior.  I think it should remind us we only have this one life to make a choice to know the Savior.  He really brought all of this world into existence to allow for man to come to Him.  He wanted to create a being that would choose to love Him and have a relationship based on that love.  This life had the purpose of bringing about a connection and relationship with God that would last for eternity.  Sin perverted that purpose.  
Through Jesus, we have access to the love of God and an eternity of the greatest joy of heaven: His presence.

Some may question, "Where is God?" when they face trials, death of loved ones and other terrifying event.  My answer is, "He is right here!" Hebrews 13:5 tells us that he will never leave us or forsake us.  He is our ever present help in a time of need. Hebrews 14:6 He will hold onto us and he will preserve us.  He never leaves and he never forces himself into our lives. When we choose Him in our lives, he is faithful to find our passing as a moment of joy.  He will comfort the brokenhearted and mend the broken heart.  
Seven years ago was hard, but I can say that Jesus carried me, even down to a song on the CD, mom was listening to, "Mama's teaching Angels How to Sing,",  I can sing it with deeper meaning now.  I can face death knowing I will get to be released into God's loving presence for eternity.  I can rejoice over a soul now lost to this world  but born into eternity at the feet of Jesus , choosing the good part. God will whisper His love into your heart, He will carry you through the journey and provide comfort we need. All of that just to bring us to eternity with Him. Death isn't so bad after all.

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