That pretty much sums up Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.
It pretty much sums up our life journey as believers.
And more specifically, it pretty much sums up this February.
My husband and I have commented several times over how many souls have died this month. As we have talked to friends, family members, and clients in the last four weeks, many have reported the home going of this one and that one, with others teetering on the threshold between life and death. Aching, sober days have constituted this month of Love.
Yet even where Death seems to be racking up points, Life reigns abundantly triumphant!
The Message forthrightly states the truth:
And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus…So reassure one another with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:13-14,18b)
Sometimes we need to flip on the Light to be reassured that the grave is not the last word!
My grandmother was just fifty-six years old when she died. The same age I will be next week when I celebrate my birthday.
It was in the month of February that the Lord took her Home – less than two weeks before my 10th birthday. “Mom” was the last of my four grandparents and how I have missed her. The cancer that ravaged her body invaded my mother’s twice (who forty-some years later remains healthy, cancer-free, and celebrating her 83rd birthday on Sunday!). A generation later, I too battled cancer twice and Life prevailed over this generational curse.
Thinking back to my grandmother’s funeral I can remember the fear that gripped me in the night. The shape of the tub in the dim glow of the bathroom nightlight reminded me of her casket. Flipping on the light would bring some relief. Yet I wore the reality that she was gone from my life like a cloak of sorrow.
It is said, “time heals all wounds.” I disagree. Time holds power over us as it marches on, one tick of the secondhand at a time. But it does not heal wounds. The Healer heals our wounds – if we let Him.
It has been forty-six years since my grandmother went home to Jesus. And it has been just over three weeks since a dear friend, dying of cancer, made her way Home too. Reflecting on them in my life decades apart, I think I landed on a common denominator…I felt alive in their presence. Each of them represented Christ to me in special and specific ways. I learned about more of Him from both of them.
As my husband and I sat at our friend’s memorial service earlier this month, I noticed something flickering around inside me. No, it wasn’t Fear, come to revisit timeworn paths to my heart. It was the lively flickering of Joy doing a happy dance within my being. My friend had passed from life through death back to life. So had my grandmother though my young heart did not perceive it that way.
Years later I realized that I had a choice to make. Wherever Fear had a grip, Life was absent and Joy had gone AWOL. Curling up in the “tub of fear” had been my option of choice for a very long time until, by God’s grace, I came to understand and acknowledge that it was death disguised, robbing me of overcoming and abundant Life.
John 10:10 became freshly baked Bread – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly (to the full).”
A life-giving choice was made when I determined I no longer wanted to park on my life map at the spot marked “death valley – you are here.”
Today, as a life coach and life mapping facilitator*, I am often reminded of the movie “Back To The Future.” Tracing one’s past steps and following forward means this life that God has granted is fluid. From the beginning He has always meant for our lives to be lived full circle, not stuck in the ‘death’ portion of our timeline.
From Life to death to Life again…it’s the cadence of Resurrection Life.
Practicing His rhythm…
*using the inspired tool of “Listen To My Life” – www.oneLifemaps.com
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at www.shammahsfield.com.