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What Death’s Taught Me
- July 20, 2016
- Wells Thompson
The Older You Get The Harder Life Becomes.
You get more responsibility, you’re exposed to more crap, and you’re affected by more disease, destruction and death. And I really don’t think it’s hard to believe that we live in a fallen world. I mean, come on Willis, all you have to do is walk out your door. Turn on your TV. Just wake up for goodness sake.
It’s been a hard couple of weeks. Heck, it’s been a hard year. First we had Bastille, France. I mistakenly got hooked into looking at some images on Twitter that still haunt me. Good gosh almighty. Unfathomable! Then we had Dallas and Baton Rouge. And add many things to that list that I don’t know about and don’t have room to list. How could anyone do those things? It’s hard to imagine, but I do know the answer. We’re screwed up people because of our sinful nature.
I do know one thing for sure. We’re all dying. We’re all terminally ill. That’s one of life’s certainties. But for those of us who follow Jesus, we’ll die once, but be born twice. Death is hard, no doubt about that. But it’s also one of the greatest things a Christian can experience, “ for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).”
Here Are Two Things That Death Has Taught Me:
1) Jesus Is Who He Says He Is.
Watching someone take their last breath is hard to put into words. I believe it either shakes or affirms one’s faith. I watched my wife’s granddad, Grampi Wyett, take his last breathe earlier this year. I wasn’t supposed to be the one in the room with his daughter, my mother in law, but the Lord had other plans. As I consoled my weeping mother in law as best I could, and watched intently as Grampi struggled more and more to breathe, I was overcome with a deep sense of peace. Yeah I was crying and emotional. But I felt the Lord’s presence. He was so real and tangible in those moments. His Spirit propelled me to speak. It was almost like a cheer. Weird right? But I was. I was cheering Grampi on to let go, as he began to be ushered into paradise. “Let go, Grampi. It’s okay, let go. Go home, Grampi.”
As he took his last breathe, I knew that he was free. There was no more pain. No more tears. His ailing and malnourished body was once again strong and perfect. “But those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)! Death can be unbearably difficult, I don’t pretend to know that pain, but death has taught me that Jesus is who He says He is. Our Savior!
2) Life Is So Fragile.
My brother’s father in law passed somewhat unexpectedly a couple of days ago. He was a healthy 64 year old man several months ago. So death is fresh on my heart and mind. I hurt for the family. I love them dearly. It’s been a difficult period. My dad’s 64 too. I can’t imagine losing him now. It’s given me incredible perspective.
Death has a way of reminding us what truly matters in life. How amazing would life be if we didn’t spend energy, time and/or money on the things that didn’t matter? I get so caught up in myself. And in pointless things that won’t matter in two weeks, let alone 20 years. Death gives you perspective. It reorients your focus. It makes you realize how fragile life is.
So, Where Do We Go From Here?
Well, most importantly, if you don’t know Jesus, accept His free gift of salvation. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. So we must cherish our time. And those we love! We must take advantage of God’s grace, while we still have the time.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Billy Graham quotes: “This is what my grandfather has said concerning his own death. He said, ‘one day you will hear that Billy Graham has died. Don’t believe it. On that day I will be more alive than I ever have been or will be.”
This life is only the setup for the life to come. Eternity! Are you ready for it?
I’ll see you soon Woody and Grampi!