e429

Desiring to build others up & give grace to those who visit

Archive for the tag “death”

Death comes to us all, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m numb. I don’t know what to think. I feel like I should be feeling more, but I don’t. Not yet, anyway.

At nearly 40 years old, I still don’t expect to lose people around my age. I definitely don’t expect to lose friends I’ve known my whole life. And if it does happen, I expect it to come after a long fight against cancer or some other disease process. I surely don’t expect it to happen suddenly & in a way that looks random from our point of view.

How do you process that kind of break? Especially in these days of social media when you see what’s going on in everybody’s lives so frequently? One moment a life is being lived, posts are being published about that life, & the next…you find out the account will never have another post from that person again. Time will appear to stop at that last published post.

We don’t know our days. We aren’t guaranteed even our next breath. But it’s so hard to live, to really live, in that knowledge. We expect to go to sleep & rise again the next morning. We expect to go about the mundane & not so mundane days of our lives in perpetuity. At least, that’s how I feel most of the time—not consciously, mind you, but practically anyway. Even though I know it’s not true. Even though I recognize that my next heartbeat comes only if the Lord wills.

This life is pointless & death is meaningless if the universe & life are merely random coincidences. If I state the first part of that last sentence without the qualifying clause at the end (“This life is pointless & death is meaningless”), we know on its face, in our guts, that it is a patently false statement. We can suppress that knowledge, but there is a gut reaction to a statement like that which tells us something is wrong with it. When someone we know dies, especially someone we care about, we know life & death are not meaningless. If they were, we wouldn’t ache for the loss we feel; we wouldn’t grieve over that person no longer being here. But we do. We ache because something meaningful is gone from our lives. We grieve over the loss.

There is meaning there. There is meaning in the life as a reflection of the One who created it. And there is meaning in the death because we are reminded that death is not natural, that it is not right, that there is something wrong about people dying.

When death is a drawn out process, we can see the wrongness of it; we can see how disease is unnatural. And we also, many times, get to see how God uses that time to soften hearts, to bring family & friends close, to let people serve one another out of love, to let us see people suffer well which reflects Christ.

But when death is sudden & unexpected? It may seem more unfair because we don’t get the time to say our goodbyes or to process what has happened like we do with terminal illnesses. It hurts. Maybe not more but probably more acutely much of the time.

Life goes on. Sometimes it takes awhile for those closest to the death, but it still eventually goes on. In the meantime, don’t waste the death, the ache, the grief. Use it wisely. Mourn with those who mourn. Serve them (even if it’s just being there). Take the time to think about death & life & what meaning there is in them. Ask yourself the hard questions about this life & about what happens at death. Think about the options & what explains our experience of life on this earth the best. Does it make sense that there is no real meaning to it, that we are just a cosmic accident? Does it make sense that there are a plethora of gods who compete for various aspects of this life & world? Does it make sense that there is a single god who is distant from its creation & impersonal?

Or does is make more sense that there is one God who created all & made it good, but whose creation rebelled against Him resulting in evil touching all aspects of that creation leading to death & destruction? A God who cares for what He has created & takes a personal interest in the lives of His children, who cared so much that He revealed Himself to His creation & went so far as to insert Himself into His own creation to save His chosen ones from destruction?

These are hard things to think about, but they are worthy to be considered. Especially in times like this: when death has come suddenly, unexpectedly; when it has come in a way that seems so unfair to us who are still living; when we can’t help but consider our own mortality.

Think on these things. Dwell on them even as you grieve. Even as you mourn with those who mourn. Even as you love those still living. Even as you serve them.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Advertisements

A Eulogy Of Sorts

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, but something happened today that got my mind churning & made me want to share some thoughts. My uncle died today, and I’ve been dwelling on that as well as something my cousin posted on social media. Maybe this is my way of processing his death or maybe this is just a way for me to help organize my thoughts. Either way, I’ve been feeling the need to write this. 

A little background first: my uncle Dave was a wonderful guy to be around. He loved to kid around–poke you in that ticklish spot on your side just below the ribs, give you a cow bite on the thigh, make a good-natured joke about your height or hair or whatnot. When I picture him in my mind, I always see him with a smile on his face or asleep–he could nap just about anywhere. He was a large man, a bit rotund you might say. I can’t recall him being any other way, but it fit him if you know what I mean; he was jolly Uncle Dave. He loved to hunt & his home was filled with the trophies of his sport. But Uncle Dave had a heart condition, had had it since he was a child, a kind of congenital heart disease (CHD). He was having a heart procedure earlier today & didn’t survive it. I don’t know yet all the details, but they’re really not important right now anyway. 
CHD runs in his family, & my cousin has lost two daughters to it as well. After he passed away, my cousin posted [edited]: 

“I HATE CHD!! F— you heart defects!”

That post has been on mind since seeing it almost as much as my Uncle Dave, aunt, & cousins. Why? Because I believe the sentiment is correct. I think we can rightly hate diseases & defects of all kinds: CHD, cancer, asthma, allergies, & on & on & on ad nauseam. These are things that we know aren’t right, that we know deep down don’t belong in this world. And it can create a raw anger when a tragic event like this occurs. 
But what should be the effect of that anger? Or how should it be directed? There are likely a lot of possible responses; some of them harmful & some of them at least somewhat helpful. However, what I propose is the proper effect or what I hope it causes, especially in those closest to the tragedy, is a longing–a longing for something better, a better place, a place that doesn’t have any of this misery. 

If you feel that kind of longing, there’s a reason for it. And it’s not some ethereal floating on clouds, playing harps place the longing is for; that place isn’t real (& let’s face it, that sounds terribly boring; who would really want that?!). 

No, that longing is for something real, someplace tangible. It’s the longing for God’s good creation before sin’s effect began marring all of the created world. It’s harkening back to Eden & forward to the new Heaven & new Earth. It is a longing that can only be satisfied by following One Path. There is One Way to one day gain entrance to that real place in which all disease, all defect, all misery will be naught; all other paths lead to never-ending misery. The only Path that will satisfy your longing is reached through belief in Jesus the Christ: belief that He existed temporally (on this earth), that He exists eternally, that He fulfilled God’s law (lived a perfect life without sin), that He died & in that death took on the punishment for breaking God’s law that we deserve, & that He was resurrected from the dead (which provides the proof that He is who He says He is). 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

I am thankful for that longing & even that it intensifies during grief. And I am thankful for the hope that the longing will one day be satisfied. 

Please be praying for my family & especially for my aunt & cousins. Pray for comfort in the midst of their grief. Pray that hearts would be softened & not hardened toward Christ. And pray that no matter what, Christ would be glorified. 

Uncle Dave, you will be sorely missed. You were much loved by many people, & many will grieve bitterly over your passing. Though you will not see this, I would that you know I love you & I will miss you!

My Case For God

[Originally posted on Facebook on May 3, 2009–This post was a result of my thinking through how I might be able to prove to someone  that there is a god & that you can’t do enough good to outweigh any bad you have done after my boss claimed he was agnostic and then stated, “If there is a god, I figure the good things I’ve done will balance out any bad things I’ve done.” I readily admit this is not the best argument out there, & I realize that I make a bit of a leap for a logical “proof” around #s 7-8. I also realize that in #21 it is probably better understood that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:20), but I decided to leave the note as I originally wrote it]

1.) There is a God–Nothing else makes sense. If there is not an Almighty Creator, how did everything come into existence? The “big bang”?! This just isn’t a logical explanation. Where did the elements come from that allowed an event like that to occur? And what kind of leap of faith does it take to believe that a cosmic event occurred in which things lined up so perfectly that this “perfect” habitat we call Earth came into existence with the diversity of life that it has (even if you believe that it occurred over billions of years)?! And if you do choose to believe in a “big bang” or something similar, what was there before that event? I find in[sic] very sobering and somewhat mind-boggling to consider what “eternity past” really means; it’s a term that’s easy to throw out there but becomes very difficult (if not impossible) to fully understand when you really dwell on it for a while. When you consider eternity past, there must be something that triggered the universe in which we live; if it was a “big bang”, what triggered it? There has to be a starting point. Nothing could exist for eternity past except an all-powerful being. I could probably ramble on more, but I think I’ve made my point.

2.) Since there is a God who has always existed, he must have created everything.

3.) Since God created everything, He must be all-powerful.

4.) Since God is all-powerful, He must set the rules.

5.) Since He set the rules, all right & wrong are determined by Him.

6.) Since He determines what is right/wrong, He can never be wrong.

7.) Breaking God’s rules (doing wrong) is called sin.

8.) The Bible (Old & New Testaments) constitutes the word of God written by many different men over hundreds of years through the divine inspiration of God without error or contradiction.

9.) If we believe that the God of the Bible is the one, true God, we must believe the entirety of the Bible because He says “all scripture is breathed out by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16a), & since we have already established that God cannot be wrong, this MUST be true.

10.) Since the entire Bible must be true, EVERYONE has sinned (ALL people from all time). “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”–Romans 3:23.

11.) God must be Holy (set apart), Loving, Righteous, Perfect

***God must have certain attributes. He must be all-powerful ergo he must be all-knowing and be capable of being everywhere. He must be perfect & only He can be perfect. He must be righteous. He must love His creation because He made it.

12.) Because God is perfect, He cannot allow imperfection (sin) into His presence.

13.) Since we have all sinned, we cannot be allowed into His presence; we are doomed to be separated from Him for all eternity.

14.) Since God is righteous, sin MUST be punished (we broke His rules, after all).

15.) Since God loves His creation, He wants it to be able to enjoy Him.

16.) There is nothing WE can do to make up for our sin. Even if we do good things, we are still imperfect because we have sinned; we cannot change that no matter how much good we do.

17.) The only way we can be allowed into God’s presence is if our sins have been paid for (someone has been punished for them).

18.) God requires a sacrifice to take the place of our sins. Only someone who is perfect can be a worthy sacrifice for others’ sins.

19.) Jesus lived a perfect life, and since He was perfect, He must be God even though He was a man.

20.) Jesus willingly gave up His life and took on God’s punishment for our sins even though He was perfect and did not deserve any punishment.

21.) If Jesus had only died as a sacrifice for our sins, it would not have been enough because there would have been a power stronger than Him–Death. Jesus rose from the dead through His own power which shows that nothing has power over Him.

22.) Since we have accepted that the Bible is true and is the Word of God, we must believe that the debt we owe for our sins has been paid by Jesus’ death and the only thing we must do to claim that payment is BELIEVE that Jesus died for our sins and ask for His forgiveness.

I pray that this note will glorify God and that He will use it to draw others to Him. There are probably better arguments from people more eloquent than I, but I believe that this is a fairly logical approach to the existence of God and Jesus. I fear that I have left things out so if anyone notices any mistakes, PLEASE correct them, and PLEASE feel free to add your own thoughts, comments, reflections, etc.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: