The Hope Within Death
Death. It’s easy enough to talk about in the ambiguous sense but what about when you are face to face with it? You can’t control it or run from it. You can’t pay it off or take it up in place of someone else. Death seems to be the great equalizer in the world and for many that is terrifying but can there be hope in death? Blessings in loss? Joy in suffering? Yes, I think there can be but it is totally dependent on your perspective.
Last night my grandmother took her last breath in this world. This moment is not as shocking as it would have been ten years ago and yet that doesn’t make it any easier in an emotional sense, however, I am filled with peace because of several concrete truths that make her passing, as well as my own, a little less scary.
First, my grandmother was tired and weary. She had many amazing blessings in this life and touched the lives of more people than I can imagine but she was worn out. This earthly body was never meant to last forever and there comes a moment when, as a Believer, you just want to go home. Luckily, her Lord is Jehovah Rophe which means God, My Healer (Exodus 15:26) and while that healing may not always look the way we would hope, ultimately there is blessing in going home.
I once heard someone say that death was a blessing from God because if we didn’t die we would be stuck forever in this sinful world and would be forever separated from our Father. That to me is such a beautiful example of how we get things wrong sometimes when it comes to life. Death is not the scariest thing we could face but rather eternal separation from God.
The second truth is the overwhelming blessings that lie in Heaven. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." That alone should be enough to set your heart dancing but Heaven holds so much more that we can’t begin to fathom. Obviously, it’s the eternal presence of our Heavenly Father that should bring us the most joy and contentment and yet the Lord promises so much more! C.S. Lewis said it best when he stated, “The fact that our heart yearns for something earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.”
In John 14, the Lord reassures his disciples that there is a place for them in his Father’s house and that promise applies to those of us who have been adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:15, Galatians 3:26). If you adopted a child would you not bring them home and give them a room? Would you not love them with all of your heart? Would you not provide for their every need? Our Abba Father is not leaving us out in the cold to face an unknown existence postmortem. If you are a Believer you can rest assured that if you leave this world today or in forty years, there is a place for you with streets of gold. A home that your heart can only dimly imagine!
Finally, the third ( and most tangible) truth that gives me hope is that she has left behind an amazing legacy as a woman of God. Did my grandmother sin? Of course, but I’d be hard-pressed to remember a time. Her legacy can be seen in the many small ministries she had throughout her life. She was a prayer warrior, a pillar of her bible fellowship class, a dedicated choir member and an anchor of the senior adult ministry. She used her seamstress skills to repair clothing, sew banners for church and make many costumes for me and a dozen other children. She taught me to sew which I am thankful for every time a seam goes or a button falls off. She taught me how important it was to study the Word and how you never finish learning from the Lord.
She truly demonstrated the Fruits of the Spirit in her daily life (Galatians 5: 22-23). She always showed LOVE to those around her. She loved to laugh and found JOY in some of the silliest things. She was without a doubt a PEACE keeper. Her heart did not hold malice when wronged in a way that I would. She was one of the most PATIENT people I know (followed by my mother). She was always doing little KINDNESSES for those around her whether taking blood pressures at Joy Club or always ensuring there were peppermint sticks in the fancy dish because certain grandchildren adored them. Her GOODNESS can be attested to until the very end. She lived her faith and walked a life of FAITHFULNESS even in the greatest of challenges and she had such a GENTLE spirit of strength with SELF-CONTROL that I was regularly left in awe of her presence.
In the end, she raised two amazing women who have passed her legacy of faith on to their children and grandchildren. I am a grateful beneficiary of her faith and I look forward to entwining her legacy throughout my life and my own legacy. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the impact she will forever have on my life and if I am half the woman she was I will consider that life a success!
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11: 25-26)