- A young wife and mother of 6, known for her cheerfulness and heart to serve. 36
- A wife, mother, grandmother, and remarkably talented pianist who shared her gift for God's glory and to bless others. 62
- A husband, father, and grandfather who loved the church. 74
- A husband, father, grandfather, and pastor who shepherded his sheep and couldn't help but smile and make you smile. 57
All of these are people I am glad to say I knew to some degree or another. But they all departed this life too soon, all within the last five months. I was at three of the funerals and saw part of another online. The brief word given to each of them above can't begin to describe who they were. If any of them were your friends, you know that. The crowded churches at their funerals (in some cases, standing room only) tell you that. What can we say in the face of such loss?
- I've written about this before, but I don't mind saying it again. I HATE death. Death takes away people we love. Death is not natural. Death reminds us of sin and exists because of sin. Death is evil. Death makes us hurt and grieve to depths we didn't know were possible. 1 Corinthians 15:26 "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." Death is the enemy. When we understand this reality, it becomes clear that grief is a good and right and legitimate response to facing such an evil enemy. Jesus wept over the death of his friend. Just before that, Jesus had declared himself to be the resurrection and the life, and he knew he was about to raise his friend from the dead! His weeping did not negate the reality of the resurrection or his confidence in it. Or we could say, the reality of the resurrection didn't eliminate his weeping in the face of death
- One day, death will be conquered. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees it, and that is comforting. When he comes back and the dead are raised, "...then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). For now, death still stings. Deeply. But once Jesus comes again, death will be defeated. The certain confidence of that future reality enables believers in Christ to grieve with hope in the present.
- Death is coming for every person unless Christ comes back first. Either way, all will stand before God the judge to receive their due. Only those who in this life have put their faith in Christ have hope for the next life.
- It is a moving thing to see fitting tribute paid to sweet servants of the King when they depart this earth. When you live in such a way that you are a genuine blessing to the people all around you, those people will miss you; they will mourn your loss; and they may well show up in droves to your funeral to grieve with and comfort your family and to worship. And that brings praise to the God you serve. That is a life well-lived. That is the kind of life I want to live.
I wish we didn't have to think about death. But praise the sovereign God that we have Christ Jesus the conquering Savior to give us hope as we face that last enemy.