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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PSALM 116



"Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones."




I wrote in a recent blog the quote "Death is the king of fear."  I'm no expert.  My closest loved ones did not die suddenly but were prepared to go to heaven.  However it is true as the familiar quote, "The only thing certain in this world is death and taxes."  Death is approaching 100% of the population.  Death entered into the world as the result of the sin of Adam and Eve.  Even God's Son experienced the most painful death, not just of the infliction He bore while dying on the cross, but the weight of the sin of the whole world was upon His shoulders which separated Him momentarily from His own Father.  However, He overcame sin and death.  But I think it behooves us to take a moment to think of death from God's perspective.  Thus this verse.



John Wesley said that Christians die well, that even facing death, they hold their faith well.  My beloved and godly Gram suffering greatly while dying of cancer fought the good fight until the end though she was buffeted by the enemy of her soul.  God sees.  God knows.  He cares.  He is deeply connected to fragile souls who face death.  He especially holds precious the deaths of those martyred for their faith.



In Revelation 7:13-17

"Then one of the elders answered saying to me,
'These who are clothed in the white robes...
'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation,
and they have washed their robes and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason, they are before the throne of God;
and they serve Him day and night in His temple;
and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.



They will hunger no longer,
nor thirst anymore;
nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;
for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and will guide them to springs of the water of life;
and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."

If our God knows when even a sparrow falls, He surely knows when His precious ones pass from death to life everlasting.  But it is the passage way that is the great unknown to us, and the unknown is what is fearful even to those who have confidence in their future hope of heaven.  We wonder how painful will it be and for how long will I suffer?  The fear of loss of those we hold 
dear is the second worry, a separation anxiety.  But from God's perspective, He is waiting to bless us with all the heavenly blessings!  Paul says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that it to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)


Our first church and its parsonage were adjacent to the historic Weaverville cemetery which had a park-like beauty where deer grazed in the shade.  However, our little ones grew up playing in the yard while funerals were held on the other side of the chain-link fence.  Thus our son came in one day when he was three and declared emphatically that, "Jesus isn't going to get me!"  He saw where those dead bodies went in the ground and wanted nothing to do with that process of going to heaven."  Later when his theology was a slight bit better he thoughtfully said, "I know! God babysits while Jesus goes down and gets more dead people!"  Hmm.




Perhaps our thinking is more of as a little child's concerning death with our distrust and aversion to it.  David indeed faced death time and time again.  I believe as he contemplated God snatching him out of its jaws on a regular basis, he conceded that one of those times God would indeed take him to his final rest.  It is the greatest comfort to know that God considers us as His precious ones, that He calls us to come be near His loving heart on the throne because He loves us so.  So the big question is, are you one of His godly ones?



Letting go is hard.
Arriving in the presence of our Lord is beyond description!
I can only imagine.



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