I was cleaning up my draft posts, when I came across this one from about 5 months ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t publish it, other than fear of man. Every time I share a post, there is much anxiety that follows afterward for the next few hours, so many times, much of my writing just sits here in this draft box. I don’t believe my writing changes lives or offers great wisdom as it is simply a way that I process. Much of my writing comes after or during a teachable moment from God, and so much of it points directly to the shaping and pruning of my own heart…vulnerable to say the least! So here is another of those moments, started as a draft but now published to be a sweet reminder of the glory that awaits us.
I got a much anticipated text around 2:30 pm. It was a picture of my beautiful niece who just made her entrance into this world. Holding her was her mom, who looked amazing, as if she didn’t just birth a human (I was not one of those). Beside them was the proud new dad. Smiling, with his two girls by his side.
It brought joy to my heart and a smile on my face as I looked down to see why my phone vibrated in my hands. That beautiful picture of new life made me so excited. Then I looked up from my phone, remembered where I was, and happened to make eye contact with the pastor. I looked to my right and saw many with tears in their eyes, tissues in hand, and some smiling as they remembered the past. It was my grandfather’s funeral. And I couldn’t help but see the irony.
A new life took its first breath and an old one stopped. And just like that, I celebrated the cycle of life in the same day, at the very same moment.
The other night, I heard Addie screaming. So I walked into her room to see her on the other side of her bed pointing to her sheets.
“There is a snake in my bed!” she cries.
“No there isn’t sweetie. You are just dreaming, go back to sleep.” I respond.
Every now and then she has these nightmares ,where she wakes up hysterical. Because of her limited understanding of reality versus fiction, sometimes it is difficult for her to comprehend that dreams are not real, so these nightmares are frequent. Therefore, when she tried to catch a glimpse of the lifeless body that carried my grandfather, lying in the casket, I chose to shield her. I carried her away, pretending as if all she noticed was just a man who was asleep. Because of her limited understanding of the Gospel, she would not understand the full reality of the picture, you see, my grandfather is awake and alive now more than he ever was.
Birth and death. So intentionally designed by our Creator.
Because of death, we are forced to think about eternity. How often do I avoid thinking about the reality of eternity because I shield myself with all of the noise in my life. Work, children, hobbies, the list could go on. Like I shielded my daughter from the body of my grandfather, so often do I let the comforts in my life shield me from remembering why I live, to bring glory to the Creator. How often do I seek to bring glory to myself? Because of Jesus, we can think about eternity with a longing and great hope. Forever with God was always the plan, and death propels us into that plan. I don’t need to shield myself because death is not a nightmare, it’s a perfect and glorious reality of what is to come. Although we that are left on earth mourn the ones we lose, we can be confident that we will see them again if we are in Jesus, and death forces us to hope.
Yet because of death, I am forced to think about how I live. The stories of my grandfather can all be summed up into one word: faithful. I have no doubt that because he knew Jesus, he chose to live a faithful life. And a faithful life is evidence of a life lived for Jesus. Death happens. What reflection will my life give after I’m gone? I want people to be confident that I am with Jesus. I want to live a life that pursues holiness, and the reminder of death allows me to reflect on that pursuit.
Because of death, we are pointed to the Savior yet also because of death, we are reminded of our sin. What a humble reality that death exists because of disobedience but because of God’s steadfast love for us, we aren’t left to just die. We actually get to live forever. What a sweet reminder that as death comes, new life is born, and because of that, we can rejoice.