Today, something happened that means more to me than every political, chemical, biological and ethnic conflict in the entire world. My sister went home!
Some may recall that my sister had ALS. I prayed that God would keep her from suffering too much or would let a cure be found. Today, both have happened. Anne was about to go through the end stages of her disease. She was nearing the point where she would be confined to bed, after which comes the slow and painful process of slowly suffocating, as the breathing muscles weakened. She had already lost the ability to talk or eat some time ago, and we all could see what a strain it was on this woman who loved to eat and especially loved to sing.
Well, today, my sister is cured! Praise the LORD! Her suffering is over! But, she will not walk out of her nursing facility today. No, she will be prepared to rest in her earthly bed until the time when Jesus comes to wake her for eternity.
What makes death so terrible? It is the idea that we never come back. We are never seen again–in this life. There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that this is all there is. So, why not fear death? Nothing good can happen to you and no one can enjoy your company once you are dead.
First of all, let’s speak the truth. We really are selfish about death. When others die, we think about how it will affect us. We have to take care of all their last wishes. We are going to be missing a best friend, a bread winner, a spouse or parent. Poor us! Also, we are afflicted with all sorts of stressful emotions about how we should act, what we should say, whether or not we had unfinished business with the deceased, whether or not we never reconciled or got forgiveness about something. How dare someone die and put us through all this?!
I have news for you. Death is release. No more worries about earning a living, paying taxes, cleaning house, filling out forms, standing in lines, shopping, fixing anything. You’re done! And, when someone dies, there is no need to be upset over what was or wasn’t said. That person doesn’t care anymore. It’s your own guilt that is the problem. Get over yourself!
But, more importantly, death is even more frightening because it represents the final unknown. We fear things about which we know little. But, what if death is just a door to a far better place? Does it sound like a fairy tale? It is not to me, and most certainly wasn’t to my sister.
Again, people try and try to explain away the truths about Jesus and the truths about eternity, because, to believe them, they would have to admit that they are not righteous enough to enter heaven. That only leaves the fear of a bad place. So, it’s better for them to believe there is no place at all after death. But, Jesus’ life and death, and resurrection, was documented by hundreds of credible witnesses. It didn’t happen to fit in with the political motives of the Jewish leaders of the time, though, so they chose to debunk the truth rather than give up political status. Sound familiar?
Yes, I rail on and on about political things. But the biggest lie of all is that there are political solutions to eternal problems. The eternal problem is sin. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. My sister was a sinner. None of us can become saints with our own efforts. We are all hypocrites when we think we can. People want to believe the eternal lie because they don’t understand the eternal truth–Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. God, through Jesus, paid the penalty for all your sins and my sins. There is nothing you have done or could ever do that God has not forgiven. There is just one sin that God will not forgive–unbelief.
It’s this simple. Do you trust God completely that he has paid your debt and that he will perfect you when you awaken from death? If you trust God completely, then you are a person who will love being in Heaven with him forever. Do you think you are pretty good all by yourself and don’t need God? Or do you think that it would be no fun to have to do things God’s way for eternity, so you don’t want to follow him? In that case, God will honor your wishes and put you some place where he is not. In fact, you already live in that darkness, whether you know it or not. A lot of people whistle in the dark, so they are not so afraid of what is out there. You can whistle all you want about the darkness of death, but it’s not going to stop you from getting there.
My sister, on the other hand, didn’t have to whistle in the dark. She spent her life singing about the light of life on the other side. She made it clear that she was down with spending an eternity with the same God she followed all through life. She was in the US Army for 21 years, and proudly served. But, she even more proudly served in the army of her savior Jesus her entire life. And, now, her life goes on. She is cured of ALS, never to suffer from it again. In fact, she, like all believers, will have her body changed into a glorious body with absolutely no defects, and one which will never deal with sickness, pain, or fatigue again. She will never need make-up, for there will be no reason to try to improve upon perfection. She will never long for anything. She will never again know the pain of separation. She is set for life–eternal life!
Some day, I will go meet my sister, and all the perfected people who will enjoy Heaven. Today, I do not cry. My sister has won her race! Some days, I cry for myself, because I must still deal with the insanity of this world. But, today, my thoughts are on where I am going–the only thing that really matters. See you later, Anne.