Saturday, March 5, 2016

Welcome Spring

We were standing around in the kitchen, when the subject of death came up.  My youngest pipes up with, "I'd rather die before the rapture because I want to be one of those that pops out of the grave."  I never tire of the humor that comes out of that child's mouth.

Yet, on a more serious note, it seems like this is all we've done over the last two weeks is bury, mourn, and contemplate heaven. One right after the other, God has been gathering in His seasoned saints from our church fellowship. But the sting of death is just not there, because we have the assurance of our loved ones in the very presence of God.  I never get over the wonder of that thought! Furthermore, during these times, the grace of God is so thick I can almost reach out and tangibly touch it.  I'm amazed at how His tender mercies uphold our hearts.

Only a few days ago, we sang these words at a memorial service, my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul!  I sang that verse strong and with all my heart because I am so eager for the day when I will be removed from the presence of sin.  Sometimes I get tired of the constant battle, the struggle against it, and I cannot wait to be freed from its pull. And I think, oh what joy, for these believers in Christ, not only to be in God's presence, but to be free from sin's entanglement.

I find these thoughts of heaven invigorating.  I cannot even perceive what it will be like to see Jesus face to face. And I think of these precious elderly saints who, one day were here, and the next moment, are there. Wow! What a sweet sweet salvation is ours!  Not to be disrespectful of the grieving, but let laughter fill the air!  All week that song by Rebecca St. James has been in my head. I don't think the song was meant for the context of heaven, but I find it fits beautifully. The anticipation of heaven brings such joy! It is amazing beyond amazing what God has in store for those who love Him.

These individuals who recently passed away all loved Jesus dearly, having followed Him for many many years. I find it peculiar that only hours before they die, they can seem fine.  For others it is not like that.  There is a greater struggle. And yet, either way, it seems that our health or lack of it doesn't matter so much as we think it does.  Sure, we all die from something, but still, "God knew the days ordained for us before one of them came to be," and when our purpose on earth is finished, God takes us. (Psa. 139:16) But He doesn't take us before then.

In just a few months, a dear friend turns 100, while only a few weeks later I turn half her age! But it never seems like it.  We can talk up a storm on any given afternoon.  Yet it does make me wonder. Why are some given more years on earth than others?  I firmly believe that it is because their purpose is not yet completed. It is no accident that we are here among this generation and in this time period. We are here on purpose, but we also leave on purpose. I'm so thankful that God knows when the time is right.

I've recently had a situation come up which gave me cause for great worry. And I wonder, why do I ever worry or get depressed?  I think it's because sometimes I live as though I do not really believe in eternity, or else I've forgotten what all is in store on the other side.  When Mary went to the tomb to look for Jesus, she was told by the angels, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5)  Perspective makes such a difference in our lives.  I know these present troubles are only temporary. My problem has not gone away, and won't for several months, but the assurance that God is in control gives me great enouragement to carry on with joy.

Most assuredly, the half has not been spoken, this side the golden shore, oh there, will be still sweeter than it ever was before.  Oh the joys that await the believer in Christ, who's eternal destiny is sure, for "precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints," oh so precious. (Psa. 116:15) Now that places a song in my heart and a spring in my step.  Welcome spring!

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