Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord

The temptation to play God is awfully great.

We want to be in control.  We want to call the shots, so to speak.

We didn't choose our parents.  Had no control over that.  But as soon as we can, we try and wrestle control and authority away from those who God had given it to - parents, teachers, pastors,coaches, those who protect us and care for us.

Our sinful human nature strives for this.  We believe that we know what's best for ourselves, our life and our death.

Death on our terms.  That's how a person dies with dignity.

I've sat by the bedside of the dying.  I've looked on as spouses and children and friends spent last moments together - laughing, crying, singing, supporting one another.

I've marveled at the sick and suffering, those who would have never thought about ending their own life.  Instead, they lived until the very end, trusting that the God who gave them life and then also gave them eternal life through faith in Jesus would be with them until they fell asleep.

Some would say, "It's easy for you to write these words - you aren't suffering from a terminal disease.  You're not facing death."

No, I'm not suffering from cancer or heart disease or ALS or any of those things.  Thank God for His grace and mercy.  As of today, I am pretty healthy and enjoy a pretty good life.

But I'm facing death.  And so are you.

In my case, I don't know when my death will come.

But it's coming.  So I trust God with my life and my death.

I trust God because He has something better in store for me.  Jesus said, "In this life you will have trouble."  Like everything else Jesus said, He's right.

But the faithful God has seen me through every trouble and every trial.  Who knows how much He has spared me from that which I'm not even aware of.

And God gave me a Savior who has defeated death.  That's what Easter Sunday is all about.  Death couldn't keep Jesus in the grave.  His victory over death is my victory.  Because He lives I too will live.

Death is our enemy.  It was never God's plan for death to be a part of His creation.

But because Adam and Eve decided that they wanted to be God, they disobeyed the Word of God and ushered sin and death into the world.

Jesus dealt with the death question.

So I will let him deal with my death whenever it comes.

This past Sunday was All Saints Sunday.  It's the day we remember those in our church family who fell asleep in Jesus during the past year.

We were also reminded of what God thinks of those who die trusting in Him until the end: Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord" from now on.

Such a wonderful Word of comfort for those who grieve.

It's a promise that we all can hang on to.

I don't want to die with dignity, acting like God, planning the details of my death.

I want to "die in the Lord," trusting in His promises, believing that my Redeemer lives and that in eternity I will see God - forever.