Have you ever felt like a sermon preached by a pastor was aimed right at you?
That he spent all week thinking about you, your life, your issues, then said to himself, “I’m going to preach a sermon for her?”
This morning’s sermon – preached by Pastor Mike — seemed particularly powerful to me. Again, there’s a lot of hormones running through my pregnant body these days which tends to cause crying over just about anything, but he really seemed to hit on some things I’ve been pondering.
From the time Gordy’s cancer went really downhill – when the tumors were found in his brain and the reality check in my head said this was the beginning of the end – I began to feel numb.
At least what I thought I felt was numbness, but the more I began to think about the Christian’s role in death the more I realized that what I felt was peace.
In Philippians 1:20-21 Paul says, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Pastor Mike punctuated that passage by saying that in life we live FOR Christ, and in death we live WITH Christ.
Do we as believers value that Biblical Truth? Do I value that Truth?
Of course I don’t want Gordy to die. I want him to live so my children can grow up and know what a kind, gentle, and giving man he is. I want my children to know the man God used to restore me from a bitter and confused childhood. I want more time with him, to be teased by him, to be irritated by him at times for still seeing me as the teenager I was when I left home, to show him what kind of mom I’ve become because he loved me so unconditionally.
I grieve everything I will lose in his death.
But in death, he will gain so much.
And that is what I believe has given me peace.
When Simeon saw the baby Jesus at the temple on the day of his dedication, just eight days old, he said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
Simeon was an old man who had waited his entire life for God’s promise of a savior to come, and when he saw the Christ child he knew the fulfillment of this Promise had been delivered, and he could die in peace.
How much more should we be at peace with death, since we know the end of the story? We know that Christ conquered death so we would not be mastered by it.
God is not like the plumber who was scheduled to work on my house, who postponed twice, then on the third appointment he never came and never called. He overbooked, or lost his calendar, or forgot to pencil me in, or misplaced my phone number, or whatever his excuse. I don’t know, because he never said. To this day he remains unseen and unheard. Needless to say, he will never work on my plumbing because I will now find a new plumber.
God shows up. God is with us. God is comforting me in my grief, and he is comforting Gordy as he travels on.