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death be not proud

One of my very dearest aunts passed away last summer. Watching her fight against cancer was one of the most painful things I have ever seen firsthand, if not THE most. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, let alone someone I grew up with and loved as a second mother. But when I think now of where she is and what she is most likely doing, I rejoice greatly.

I hear people, when talking about pills and pains and other ailments, say things like “Well, it’s better than the alternative.” As Christians, to say that shows our lack of faith, this vague notion – still – that after all this life and all we know of Grace and the Gospel, death yet has a sting. We’re afraid of it – that Great Unknown – and do what we can to avoid it.

Even in dying days, no one wants to talk about it. We cycle through the stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and we might get around to acceptance before it’s too late. I know those who have died well, with dignity and calm resolve. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go, and I know where I’ll be when I wake.

To claim anything less than that, is to not believe. Jesus said, I am the Resurrection and the Life. As a recent book review put it:

When Jesus said this, his aim was not to give us pretty, poetic rhymes with which to try and numb the pain. He means us to know that he, Jesus Christ, has the real, physical answer to real, physical death. And immediately after he said those words, he proved they were more than music—by raising a man to life who had been in the tomb four days.

– From Barry Cooper’s review on Gospel Coalition

Now see if I did needlepoint, THAT would all be on a pillow. A big pillow, obviously.

I pray “Come, quickly, Lord Jesus” all the time. Some have said that this seems defeatist of me, like I’m done with this life and just want to give up and move on. Believe me, there were days in my past when I wanted nothing more than to give up. But I had no hope of what death would bring. Sure, I was lost and despairing, but the fear of death and eternity kept me plenty of times from finding out about them firsthand.

Fast forward to now, and the mentality shifts completely. I love life. Ask anyone who knows me at all and they would agree. There is so much beauty and wonder in life that I embrace it fully and seek to better understand it all. That said, I long for heaven and home. I know I am here as long as I am meant to be here and there is great comfort in that. But there is also great comfort in knowing the final destination and having no shadow of doubt that it is exactly where I was made to be. I love living in the balance – the now and the not yet…

I love this too…

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