Friday, March 22, 2013


Today I attended the funeral of a friend.  She was just 52 years old, a bright, always smiling, sweet-spirited person. 

Since my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's I've really had to struggle against fear of her death; and my friend's funeral brought these fears to the surface once again. 

After the funeral today it finally occurred to me to review the teaching the Lord provided me about death back when I was writing my caregiving book in 2009. I sometimes forget that the readings in that book began through my efforts to record God's guidance to me as I navigated difficult caregiving issues that continue to recur from time to time. Grappling with the reality of my mother's impending death was such a knotty problem for me that I devoted an entire chapter of readings to the subject.  Here are words of comfort that have helped me, and if you are taking care of someone with a terminal disease I pray you are helped too. 

It is sad that we humans so often view death with dread--the actuality is that it is a blessed doorway into God's continual presence.  (quote from my mother, June, 2007) p. 243
I was comforted to be reminded that the Lord is in control even of events that are devastating to us. Because I knew Him to be a loving God, there was great peace in this reminder that He was in control. We cannot comprehend the why of distressing events, but we may always find solace when we come to the Lord. It is a difficult truth that our only hope of deliverance from the pain of grief lies in the arms of Him who allowed us that grief.  p. 246

God does not willingly bring grief or suffering (See Lamentations 3:33;) His will flows over all that is grievous and changes darkness to light (See Psalm 18:28;) all things are incorporated into and transformed by His perfect will (See Romans 8:28;) where time and eternity touch, His will is done on earth as in Heaven (See Matthew 6:10;) we can’t yet perceive what we will one day see clearly because we walk by faith and not by sight. (See 1 Corinthians 13:12.)p. 247

Matthew Henry’s complete commentary on Hebrews 2:14-15 says that because of what Christ has done for us on the Cross, “Death is not only a conquered enemy, but a reconciled friend...not now in the hand of Satan, but in the hand of Christ—not Satan’s servant, but Christ’s servant—has not hell following it, but heaven to all who are in Christ.”p. 250

Our physical bodies are like the alabaster vase that held the nard Mary poured upon the feet of Jesus. The vase was broken to release the perfume. Each of us is headed toward an appointment with physical brokenness because no one escapes physical death. Sometimes the process of death is painful and for just a little while, we are preoccupied with the breaking of the container, but then the fragrance of Christ flows forth as the spirit is released. p. 255

Death is not lovely, but though we must walk through the valley of its shadow, there is no need to fear. In just a little while we will see Jesus and no one will take away our joy. Until that day we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a deposit; a guarantee of what is to come. We have a promise that will not be broken; grief will turn to joy. p. 256

There is no Promised Land here on Earth; it waits for us in Heaven. The Lord gives times of rest, like oases in the desert of this journey through life, but I must never mistake a short-term respite for a permanent dwelling. This temporary shelter is where I live for now, but Heaven is my home. p. 262

The timelines of our lives overlap, but they do not begin or end in tandem. There would be a terrible loneliness in this fact, but for the Lord and His promise that He will never leave or forsake us...p. 264 

The life of Christ is at work in those of us who love Him and believe in Him. As we walk with Him we become more like Him. At the end of our earthly lives, all that is not of Him will be swallowed by victory. This comes, not from any good in us, but from the wondrous gift of grace through the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. These mortal bodies we inhabit are bent toward sin. Our hope and our salvation are in Christ and Christ alone. p. 268

Scripture: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54) .

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