Jump Start # 2503
Revelation 21:4 “and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
This year hold many anniversaries for me. I’m one of those people who recognizes dates, anniversaries and milestones. This is the tenth year of our Jump Starts. Later in the year I will come to the milestone of preaching forty years. This is also the 40th anniversary year of my marriage. Big year. Many reasons to have parties the whole year long!
This week was also another anniversary for me. It’s one I don’t talk about much but it’s important. Twenty-five years ago my mom passed away. It was January 2nd. I was sitting on her bed as she passed through the doorway of death. A few days later I preached her funeral. It’s been twenty five years. My children were young and some barely remember her. None of the grandkids were born.
I thought I’d write a few reflections about this anniversary. I hope these words help those who have parents who have passed through the doorway of death. I’ve heard people say, “There is not a day passes that I do not think about my departed parent.” It’s not that way for me. To be honest I don’t think about it that much and long periods of time passes without me thinking about her. She was a Christian and I believe that by His grace she is with the Lord. I know she is in the best place and she is more joyous than she has ever been. My mom was a hard worker. She didn’t sit around and watch TV much. My memory of her was always busy around the house. She never was idle. I get a lot of that from her.
First, the pain of grief gets better through time. I remember that first year after she died, all I could do was think about her. On the first anniversary of her death, I got out a box of sympathy cards that had been sent to me and read all of them. Time is an amazing healer. It’s very much like surgery. At first, it just hurts and there is no fast forwarding past that. But time passes. Life goes on. Faith helps. And, the pain is replaced with fond memories.
Second, it’s different when one is a Christian and the one who passed is a Christian. It still hurts. Jesus, knowing that He was going to raise Lazarus, still wept at his grave. The unknown is removed by understanding Scriptures. Lessons on death, the rich man and Lazarus, Hades, eternity all solidify what is in our faith. God is good and one realizes that when a Christian dies, the angels have carried that soul to a place of comfort. Never again will that soul suffer from temptation, sickness, disease or heartache. We sing, “Does Jesus care when I’ve said good-bye to the dearest on earth to me…when my sad heart aches until it nearly breaks…” And the chorus reminds us, “Oh, yes He cares, I know He cares. His heart is touched with my grief.” It is comforting to believe and to know that one is safe with the Lord.
Third, one must be careful not to let wild ideas, false teaching and erroneous ideas take away from what the Bible teaches. I do not talk to my mom. I do not pray to my mom. I do not believe that she has sent me signs, messages or other things. She is in God’s other room. I have asked God to take care of her. There is a strong pull to want to talk to one who has left us. And, that strong desire has led some to believe things that just cannot be supported by the Scriptures. Finding pennies on the sidewalk is thought by some to be a sign from a departed loved one. Now, just what is that supposed to mean? A penny? Now, finding a hundred bill would be exciting, but not a penny. And, who knows what that is supposed to mean. It’s vague and fueled by our wishes more than truth.
Fourth, all of us are leaving footprints for those around us. Someday it will be our time to go through that doorway of death. Faith in Christ takes away the fear of that. And, someday, we will just be a memory to those whose lives we touched. All of this reminds us that building bonds, encouraging others, making a difference is more important than what’s on TV. Our times are strange. People would rather spend an hour staring into a cell phone than talking to someone. And, when our time to depart comes, how will we be remembered? Too busy to play with little ones? Too much into social media to care about those around us? Too busy for the Lord? Footprints—we all leave them. The Lord left them. Our footprints point to what is important to us. Nothing can replace you giving you to another. Take the time to touch the lives of others. Little ones will be influenced. Big ones will care.
Our verse today, tells of coming changes. There is a day coming in which sorrow, pain, crying and mourning will pass. It’s not today. It’s to come. Those things are still with us. We must journey with those things. But soon, all these things will be of the past. The first things will be done away. Interestingly, all those things, crying, pain, mourning, death are connected to sin. Sin causes all of those things. The regrets, the guilt, the consequences, the sorrow, the pain that sin has caused will be gone. God will take His children away from this broken world. Together, we shall see the Lord.
Do I miss my mom? Yes. Do I wish she was here? No. Instead, I wish I was where she is. A journey completed. A faith kept. A battle fought and won. Home with the Lord. Safe, cared for and loved. I couldn’t want anything more. I couldn’t do for her what the Lord is. And, someday, it will be our turn.
We must serve the purpose of God in our generation, as David did. That is what’s before us!