Life. That is the only word that comes to my mind at this moment. I reflect back on the last month or so of changes in my life, also leading me to think back on my childhood and everything else in between, and I have come to this one conclusion: Life.
Life is living – the happy, sad and challenging times. It is not perfect. Don’t beat yourself up trying to make it perfect, or even fair. We have a perfect Savior in Jesus Christ, and that is all we need to make sense of our sometimes tangled lives.
Life is relationships. Put down the stuff. Jesus Christ was all about relationships. Jesus did not continue to dwell on our past sins and transgressions, but rather what are we going to do right now. If you want to have an idea of what God is truly like, just look at Jesus’ life and actions. Love, relationships, restoration, living. He never sought fame or things. Jesus knew what was truly important and lasting in this life. Only the One claiming to be Son of God Himself could have led such a perfect example.
Life is temporal and eternal. I know that sounds like a contradiction, and maybe it is for a little while. Life on this earth will end, and probably unexpectedly. If that is all there was, it would be terribly unfair and cruel. But the God of life, love and relationships did not create us that way. We have a choice. Choose to follow the God of life. It makes all the difference at a funeral.
My Dad ~ 1930-2017
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
– John the Evangelist, 1 John 5:11-13
I know this testimony is true. I saw it.
My dad laid in the hospital bed of the Intensive Care Unit after having a massive stroke. IV tubes and oxygen machines were hooked up to him. He could correctly answer a few questions while laying there, but his mind seemed to be mostly reminiscent of past times in the 1950’s and 60’s. He was restless and tried to get out of the bed, pulling off his tubes. My dad never even wanted to be in a wheelchair so I understood. He was a Navy veteran and strong to the end. But there was also something else.
I stood beside my Dad’s hospital bed. He wasn’t able to move his arms very much or focus on people’s faces. Then suddenly he began reaching his arms up into the air, to the left of where I was standing, and grasping both hands in an open-and-close movement as if he was trying to hold onto something. He saw something the rest of us did not. Maybe it was the angels waiting to take him home, or maybe it was Jesus comforting and speaking to him. It is life’s great mystery that we will not be privileged to know until it is our time. But I do want to know the God of eternal life and His Son Jesus at that time.
After that, my Dad was more peaceful. A few days later he spoke his last words, “Goodnight“, and slipped peacefully into the loving arms of Jesus in heaven.
Jesus said to the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on My way to wake him up.” Then the disciples said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.” So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”
– John 11:11-15