Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Matter of Life and Death

Just a quick warning: this post isn't filled with cute Emily pictures, and lighthearted chatter about her personality.  Instead, it's a way for me to process some of my thoughts, and to share them.

I've been thinking about death a lot lately.  Perhaps this isn't surprising.  We recently celebrated the Easter holiday; a time to remember and be thankful for the death and resurrection of Jesus.  A time to be in awe - again - of just how deep God's love is for us, that He would sacrifice His only son for our salvation, when we are only sinners who mess up time and time again.  I never got the depth of that until I had my own baby, about how much pain it would cause me to give her up to anyone for any reason, and to realize that it caused God just as much suffering to hand His son over to those who would crucify Him.

I thought about death on Easter morning, when our Pastor preached about the new earth.  About how "Emmanuel" means "God with us", and not the other way around.  About how one day, God will be here.  Heaven will be here.  And there will joy and laughter and dancing and peace and, if you believe our pastor, perhaps even kayaking and good home-cooked ribs.  And perhaps death isn't as scary as I've made it out to be.  Perhaps the intermediate heaven will be nothing compared to the new earth.  Perhaps God is so much better than I've been able to imagine.

And that's a good thing, because there are a few people I know who need this blessed assurance.  I read about the Spohr family, and my heart breaks.  I weep with them, this family who I don't know, because I can't imagine how to do what they are doing.  I read about Stellan and I pray, because having Emily in the hospital for so long, without answers, would be unbearable.  I know friends struggling with illnesses and diseases but in the midst of my sadness I must praise the Lord.  I must praise Him because He know our hearts, because He weeps with us, because He blesses us in the midst of our sorrows and, one day, because of Jesus' own life and death, we'll be united with God and those we loved and lost, for eternity.  Praise the Lord for His triumph over death, that we may live (and laugh and dance) forever.

"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love."

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