I will be 70 years old in April. If I were to die, certainly there would be those who would mourn my death (I am blessed with family and friends who I know would miss me), but there would also be those who would say things like “she lived a good long time”…and frankly I would have to agree with them, I have lived a good long time. I also think there is point when one experiences a quieting of the spirit and a longing for heaven.
My spirit has not quieted yet. I know I am ready, covered by the blood of Christ, but, on the other hand, I am not READY. I realize I would consider it “untimely”…that is on this side of the river I would…, because I have so much I still want to do, to discover, so many events I want to be present for–the graduations of my grandchildren, seeing them launched into life and watching them land. I have love yet to give so I would not choose to exit Left, Right or frankly through any door on the stage of life.
And yet, I have had a good full life…I am almost 70 years old…I have loved and been loved by God and others, I have given birth, I have had a challenging career, I have known joy and sorrow, 70 years provides ample ground to cover, but hear me I want more. Whether I get it or not is completely up to God, for I seek to be in his perfect will and I know he has the number of my days.
What I don’t understand which is greater than what I do understand, is why a sixteen year old girl with all of life’s potential ahead of her would die in a motor vehicle accident, why my friends, Juanita and Marcellus would lose their precious 37 year old daughter to suicide, why our precious Lydia would be a victim of fetal demise…never to draw a breath. Surely each of these and so many more who have gone to what some might call their reward, surely they had unfinished dreams and life plans and certainly their families had them for them.
My granddaughter’s teammate died in a car accident last night. She was a junior in high school. Today family and friends are sorrow filled. Today I am praying for all of them and struggling for understanding, for words of hope to share with them.
One thing I have learned as I have said “good-by” to my parents, my brother Bill, to my sister-in-law Kaye, my friends, Earlene and Rita, both who died in their early 50’s, to Suzy who took her own life, to Adam who died at age 7 after a valiant battle with cancer….so many names, causes, ages, but all who in my mind met with what seemed to me to be “untimely” deaths, is that I cannot bring them back to me. Demise by its very definition is “the act of dying or the end of something.” It is the period at the end of the sentence no matter how complex, compound, or lengthy that sentence may be.
It is only when I turn away from my own understanding, my own ways and look to Christ that I catch, however briefly, a glimpse of Home, New Bodies, New Minds, Finally Perfection. Today I find hope in Paul’s 1st Epistle to the Corinthians:
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:12-20 NIV)
My finite mind still stews over untimely demise, but I surrender my will to the Mind of Christ knowing He understands how fragile, frail, and needy our physical bodies are and He knows in Heaven’s Eye “demise, the end of life” is an illusion for life is eternal. We are either with Him or without Him, but there is no real end.