I have had an entire week to think and reflect on dying.
Since Kenney and I have been married, we have attended three funerals of grandparents. We are closing in on another soon.
This time, my Tommy is four and a half years old, and the questions he asks about death and dying, are nothing less than poignant. I remember a speech class once, and I remember being told, that to really know material is to be able to teach the material. Tommy's questions have given me the privilege of a test, to remind me what I know about the reality and biblical truths of death, and how well I am able to teach him.
Rewind a couple of months....Tommy comes home from Sunday school with a study sheet each week. The sheet has a bible verse to memorize, a story they heard, and practical applications for parents and children. We try (note I used the word try) to go over the sheet when we get home from church. I noticed on the bottom of his sheets, there are five basic questions the kids are to memorize and have an answer for. Things like, "who created you?", and "what else did God create?" but, the last question I found most interesting...
Why did God create you?
Kenney and I have talked and dwelt upon that statement for a couple of months now. I am a believer in Christ and His word, I have read the bible, spent many a Sunday's in church, and sadly neither I nor Kenney answered that question accurately.
We knew we are to be followers of Christ, we knew we came to serve others and not ourselves, we knew we were loved by God, we knew we would spend eternity with Him as believers, but the basic, simple, fundamental question.... we just didn't have the basic, simple, fundamental answer to. How did we miss the boat? The answer:
Why did God create you, me, us?
For HIS Glory.
That thought has been at the basis of many of my thoughts lately. It is such a fundamental truth, that has changed my perspective greatly on many things. That God's main purpose for our existence is to reflect the glory of Jesus Christ. God gave us life so that with our bodies and minds and hearts we might draw attention to Jesus and make Him look as great as He really is.
That purpose does not change in our death.
For a Christian, eternal life begins when we except Christ as our Savior. Death is no longer death for those in Christ.
I pulled up a sermon, or article by John Piper, as I often do and found a wonderful truth.
"Therefore the sting of death is gone. Death is no longer the terror that death used to be. Death is now a transition from life to better life, from faith in Christ, to seeing Christ, from good fellowship with Jesus, to far better fellowship with Jesus, from mixtures of pain and pleasure, to all pleasure, from struggles with sin, to perfect affections for Jesus. We have passed from death to life."
The apostle Paul says "it is my eager expectation and hope that Christ will be honored in my body by death. For me to die is gain." Philippians 1:21
How do we glorify Christ in our death? By treasuring Christ so much, that dying is felt as a gain.
For those of us left here we feel the present loss of a loved one. There are tears and weeping. But we (believers) do not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Through the tears, there is a way to magnify and glorify Christ. When Job heard the news that all ten of his children were dead the bible says, "Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:20-21)
He wept as well as worshipped.
Christ is to be so real, so treasured, that we live and die in a way that shows He is our supreme treasure. He is what matters most to us. My daily struggle, Kenney's daily struggle is to treasure Jesus like that.
"I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Philippians 3:8
We sung this song today in church, and it has such meaning and truth I wanted to post the song, so I can go back and always remember.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.