I hate death. I doubt anyone out there really likes death, but I really don’t like it. The fear of death is a major weakness of mine, when it comes to my family and friends. The thought of losing someone that I love, or even watching others lose someone that they love is enough to make me detach and fall apart.
Ironically, I am not afraid of my own death. For that, I am most excited. I like this life on earth, but I have come to the point in my walk with Christ to know that I am not of this earth, only a visitor here. I will gladly turn my back on it, and run straight into the arms of my Father……if I don’t fall down flat on my face first in my complete awe of Him. I just don’t want to be the one left behind.
Speaking of left behind, I am reading the series with the same name as we speak. I only have two books to go, and I dare say that it has helped me to get a better grasp on death. The Christ-believing characters in the story know that they are going to lose oodles of their loved ones, and very soon at that, yet somehow they can put it in it’s place and soldier on…….probably because they know that their time on earth is limited too. I just cannot imagine living years and years without my most beloved one, my children, my parents, or any of my family. Yet, as a believer, I know that I might and probably will…..but it still scares me so.
A recent funeral had me weepy this morning, but it was the preachings of my pastor that sent me over the edge. He has an amazing way of making you understand complex ideas, by putting it into stupid-simple words. I like that. Not that he speaks down to anyone, but rather it seems that he remembers the days when he himself had questions, before he was educated on such things. The message today was on Revelations, but he first stopped to say a few words on a man who had just lost his wife. In describing to us how this man must have felt, Pastor told us an analogy about saying goodbye to a loved one. He said something along the lines of:
As believers in Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven, we do not really say “Goodbye” to someone who has died. Instead, envision yourself standing on the beach of a great and vast ocean, and the person who has passed on is embarking on a new and glorious journey, setting sail on a magnificent ship. As you stand there waving madly and calling out your farewells, the ship appears to get further and further away from you, until it is completely lost from your line of sight…….seeming to disappear and vanish altogether. Yet, if the voyager had declared Jesus Christ as their Savior, and asked Him to live within them, their vessel will not be swallowed up, but simply travel to another port…….and family members and friends that had gone before them will be there to welcome them home……along with our shining Savior and Father. So it is not goodbye…..but, until we meet again. Because one day, as a believer yourself, you too will be carried across the waters to your forever home, where that same person that you grieve for today will be waiting.
Buckets, people. I cried buckets. It was so beautiful the way he described it……..and I guess I needed to hear that. My son and I started hopping up and down later at lunch when we asked each other what it made us think of………Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. At the end of that movie, Frodo has lost his strength to live and he can go no more, so the Elves offer him passage on their vessel to ‘The Blessed Realm’, on the last ship ever to leave Middle Earth. The scene in that movie was done so beautifully, that Christian believers cannot help but associate it with what dying must be like. At least, I can’t. If you haven’t seen those movies, you should watch them. They are steeped in Christian values…….if you can get past the Orcs and the battle scenes.
So we must comfort ourselves with God’s Word, know that our faith WILL be tested during these times, but that we can rest easy in His loving embrace, for He knows when we feel beaten.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I heard the following verse at the funeral yesterday, and when my pastor quoted today, I felt there could be no coincidence…….as all believers can seek comfort in it’s meaning during the loss of a loved one. It may not take away the sting of death, but it will help to turn our faces toward God during our grief.
John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Hear the most beautiful song from the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack, “Into The West”, performed by Annie Lennox here:
(click the (x) on the add, so that you can see the lyrics)