Within a month I will have attended all three of these life events. These reality checks should be mandatory once a year for every human being. Why? Because they remind us of promises and futures. They give us perspective on our choices, and what we are sowing and reaping. And, if our hearts are beating at all, we will cry at all three.
Take weddings for example. The bride and groom’s ardent affection make me remember when love was new and the wounds not yet inflicted. I need to remember the helplessly giddy feelings—and cry. Am I still willing to give my heart to my husband with abandon? But their beaming faces also make me smile because I know, with God’s grace over time, those fresh, gushing promises of forever love and good behavior will turn into more than they could imagine. The wish for “happily ever after” will become a deep reservoir of victories and defeats, little deaths and resurrections, a history of two lives being melded into one. Love is transformed from shallow rapids in a stream into deep still waters.
Baby showers are bittersweet too. Reading the fear and panic on the faces of new moms, or moms again, remind me of just how fast time flies and just how faithful God is. You only have to be a few miles down the road to realize that the sweet cuddles are gone in a moment. Did I stop long enough to enjoy them? Did I plant the seeds of loving God in my children? The messes, questions and hopes of those beginning years will soon be whispers in our memory. God really is big enough to be God to our children, not just to us. And He will be their God even in our bad moments and failures.
Fortunately, this funeral celebrated a woman who loved God. So we did “not grieve as they who have no hope.” It was a refreshing change to celebrate a life well-walked with Jesus. It caused me to pause and reflect. Am I living in such a way that people know I love God? Not works. Just fruit. This woman had a beautiful display of fruit in the testimonies of others’ lives.
In contrast, the last several funerals I’ve attended have been for unbelievers or spiritual fence-sitters. It is amazing how we speak with gymnastic prowess around death when hell is very real. None of us can bear the thought of eternal separation from God, yet those people chose separation from Him in this life. Here is a hard question. If you don’t want to be with Jesus now, why would you want to go to heaven and be with Him forever?
When I die, I don’t want the speakers to be hanging on some tightrope that I am with Jesus based on some long forgotten church experience. I told Chuck, “If I go first, you tell the people at my funeral that there is no question about whose I am and where I am. I am with my Lover and I had just talked to Him the day I died.” Chuck laughed and shook his head. “I know honey, I know.”
Life well in Christ so you can die well Christ.
Don’t sleepwalk through your life. Examine, reflect, celebrate, change course. Plant God and harvest His life.