Losing friends and family to death is heartbreaking; losing a parent or spouse is devastating.
As Christians we enjoy the promise that if the deceased was a believer, we will at some point in the future see them again face to face. It’s that promise that comforts us in our grief, acts as a spiritual salve for our suffering and gives us endearing hope that however bleak our loss may seem, we can anticipate joyfully reuniting one day with lost loved ones.
Our family lost its patriarch Easter week last year, and despite the knowledge that his warrior’s heart was growing fainter, we clung to the emotional life buoy that he would thwart death’s advance one more time. We believed it because he believed it.
The day before he passed, our 83-year-old Dad told my sister he honestly thought he wasn’t going to die, that he just had to rest awhile, regain some weight that he’d lost and he’d be back to work soon running his concrete finishing business.
Dad loved to work, and everyone that knew him respected him for his work ethic. Sadly, there was no working around two heart attacks that night. With the aid of a ventilator his heart was still working the next morning, but he had no pulse.
His instructions had been clear in such an event: he wanted nothing to do with life support or hospice, no postponing the inevitable if his once tireless body had finally worn out.
Dad was at peace with dying because he knew what millions of other faithful servants before him had known: because our Lord beat sin and death through His selfless act of love on the cross at Calvary, there was no reason to fear death. Nor was there any reason to dread it or run from it.
Somehow it seemed appropriate that the funeral services celebrating Dad’s life were held at 11 a.m. on Good Friday. It was at that hour over 2,000 years ago that Jesus hung in agony from a wooden cross on behalf of an unbelieving and undeserving humanity. A few hours later the blameless one who had been mocked as King of the Jews was carefully removed from that cruel Roman cross, wrapped in donated linens and mournfully placed in a borrowed grave.
After Jesus fulfilled his Father’s plan to offer humanity a spiritual life buoy by reconciling us to Him through the forgiveness of our sins, what happened next demonstrates why our Dad didn’t fear dying. On that third day following his scourging and crucifixion, Christ’s rising from the dead is why none of us have to fear dying – today, tomorrow or ever.
Easter is a joyful reminder that though we shed involuntary tears when losing loved ones, the seemingly insurmountable abyss separating us from them is temporary. The promise of seeing them again isn’t a fairy tale or a mental illusion meant to give us temporary solace in our grief.
God’s love for us is greater than anything in this world. Mercifully, even the inevitable sting of death isn’t permanent to anyone who trusts in the risen Christ.
Thanks for reading Dean Riffs. For those who love American liberty, free enterprise, and who believe God has blessed our country, welcome. For those who believe in open borders, safe spaces, and who tolerate everything but free speech and conservative ideals, move on – there’s nothing here for you to see.
The post was written Easter weekend, 2016 while returning from Dad’s funeral in Florida
Copyright 2017, Dean A. George©