Jump Start # 2547
Psalms 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.”
Word came last week of a sweet family of the Lord that was killed by a crushing tornado in Cookeville, TN. The young father, mother and little boy all lost their lives. But they really didn’t. Their lives weren’t lost. They were with the Lord and they continue to be with the Lord. They went through the door of death and they live on, never to face another storm in their lives. The outpouring of love and support for their families has been remarkable. People stepped up. People did well. Hearts were touched and hearts were broken by this tragedy.
I want to share a few thoughts about this:
First, none of us, even the people of God, are isolated from the suffering of this world. The people of God have been victims of crime. They have been killed in car accidents. They have died young. They have suffered from illness and disease. Don’t be thinking, because I am a Christian that God will keep bad from happening to me. With those thoughts, your faith will take a hit when you hear of brethren being killed by storms and disasters. You will conclude that some were not living right. You will face a huge challenge when you encounter personal tragedies in your own life. It is appointed for us to die, that includes the people of God. We remember the three Jewish men in Daniel 3 that refused to bow to Babylon’s idol. Not only were they threatened with a fiery furnace, but they were actually put in one. Pages later, and decades later, Daniel faced the threat of a lion’s den. He Daniel spent a night with the lions. Unless the Lord comes, you and I will not get out of here alive. How and when we go through that door of death is up to the Lord.
Second, as sad and as tragic as this specific story is, what a wonderful thought to go together as a family to be with the Lord. It is sad that this couple was so young. But what a blessing that their little child never had to be alone and with his mom and dad they crossed through the doorway of death to be in the presence of the Lord. There is something special about that which only the people of God truly can appreciate. Together in life. Together in death. Together with the Lord.
Third, the brevity of life is clearly seen in this tragic story. So quickly, so unexpectedly, our lives can end. We go to bed at night, with dreams of tomorrow and plans for the future, but before the sun rises, we may be called through that door of death. What a contrast there is between birth and death. It takes nine months for a baby to be developed within the womb. There are many signs that things are progressing. The process of birth can take hours, for some, more than a day. But with death, life can end in a second, often without any warning. It’s not like the movies, with music playing in the background and a long, tearful goodbye. In a flash, in an instant, life can end. We know this from reports from the battleground. We know this from what happens in car accidents.
Fourth, the true measurement of life is not in the number of years, but in how one lives those years. For the precious family in Cookeville, they were active in teaching Bible classes and inviting others to services. They were kind, sweet and godly. They were young but they left great impressions upon the hearts of others. They used their opportunities well. They were serious about their faith. And, for some of us, all we do is get older. And, as we get older, some get worse, not better. They become mean and bitter. They become a grouch. They are against everything. Many years are given but not much done with those years.
We see that Biblically. Methuselah lived to be the oldest person recorded in the Bible. He had 969 years. He was the father of Lamech and the grandfather of Noah. And, that’s about it for ole’ Methuselah. He was old. Did he do any good? Did he help any on their journey? Did he lead any to the Lord? Did he stand for what was right? We don’t know the answer to those questions. Many have thought that Methuselah died the same year as the flood. Did he? Did he die in the flood?
America has a new idol. That idol is our obsession with health. Live as long as you can here, seems to be what so many are bowing down to. Obsessed with working out. Obsessed with pure foods. Obsessed with medicine. Keep grandma alive, by pumping all kinds of medicines in her so she can continue to sit in her wheelchair staring at a TV all day long. With this obsession, comes an increased fear of dying. Do everything possible to avoid it. It doesn’t matter what life looks like, it has to be better than dying. That’s the thoughts today. It’s based upon secular thinking that can’t see past the door of death. It sees no value in death.
Then we come to our verse today. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. Precious. That’s not a word many would use with death. What a loss, some would say. How tragic. How wrong. How unfair. But from Heaven’s side of things, it’s precious.
Now, death is not precious for everyone. It is to God’s godly ones. That’s the difference. It means that they have finished what God wanted. It means that they have kept the faith. It means that they will be with the Lord forever. Tears at a funeral are understandable. Even our Lord cried. He cried knowing what He was about to do. But we do not grieve as those who have no hope. With our tears is a hope. A great hope. A hope that is absolute. A hope that the godly ones are with the Lord. Never again to suffer. Never again to be tempted. Never again to fear. They are in the best place, the place where all godly ones long to be.
Our prayers, thoughts and love extend to the precious family of Josh, Erin and little Sawyer Kimberlin. Precious is their lives, and precious is their death. They are home, safely home. Safe in the arms of Jesus, what a wonderful place to be.
May we all long to be there.