Death Is NOT The End…But Where Do You Stand?

goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy, but death is certain and life is short…

  • Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14)

You and I have to face this reality every time we lose someone we love. It’s hard, I’m not even going to try to sugar coat it. There is nothing quite like the physical pain of heartbreak that comes from losing someone to the grip of death.

For the most part, we try to push it aside and not think about it. That’s just something that happens to “other people” we think to ourselves. I don’t have to worry about that for a long time.

Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth. You or your closest loved one could be called home tomorrow. The fact is, we simply don’t know.

“How” Doesn’t Matter

It could be something you know is coming, or it could be sudden and unexpected. It doesn’t matter though. You experience the loss the same way. There’s no “getting ready” for that loss, no padding the edges and no safeguard that it will hurt less.

I’ve experienced each of these kinds of loss, and neither was preferable to the other. I’m sure you’ve experienced it too. Is it that way for you as well?

Losing someone, even knowing that they are dying, is still just as traumatic as “getting that phone call”. Honestly, in the former case, it is often our selfishness that hurts the most when our loved one is gone. Knowing that we wanted them to hold on when it was really better for them to be with Jesus.

My Experiences

I’m one of those people who shut bad things away in a neat little box, never to be revisited if possible. It’s not a choice that I consciously made, it is simply who I am. I’ve been told it’s not “healthy”, but this is the skin in which I live. I have to do things my way or no way at all.

I’ve tried alternatives, I’ve taken the advice and I’ve wound up back at square one, so to speak. Believe me, I haven’t reached the age I’m at today without a few lumps along the way. I’ve also not weathered all these years without learning a thing or two.

And to think, I use to think people my age were old!

Losses

I do not intend to go into great detail, but I’ll share a bit with you about some of the people I’ve lost…

My Brother…

Audie was 16 years older than me, the middle child of my three older siblings. He died when I was fifteen years old, the summer before I started high school. At that age, I hadn’t made nearly the memories with him that others had. But he was still my brother.

audie
My brother, with his wife and children.

My Nephew…

Shane had it rough, from the age of two, medically speaking, but he was four when they diagnosed the brain tumor. This was one of those “knew it was coming” situations that was no easier to take. After he passed away at the age of eight, I really had a hard time. Sometimes I still have a hard time. But that’s a story for another day.

My Grandma…

I was holding her hand when she died, there in the nursing home, surrounded by other family members as well. Somehow I remember thinking it would be a different experience. If I had it to do all over again, I really can’t say that I would stay in that room. That’s just me, though.

My Grandma, with her brother, Ross.

JuLee…

I’ve only made a few friends in my life like her. She was one of those people you just always wanted to be around. I don’t remember her ever saying an unkind word about anyone. And I cherished her friendship. She was murdered, and sometimes it’s still hard to deal with when I hear her name or see her photo.

Most Recently

The most recent loss our family has had to deal with is the loss of a dear old friend. I met Dale in 1993 when I started singing with The Strings of Praise.

The Strings of Praise, 1992. From L to R: Sue, JC in back, Me in black vest, Brad, Roy and Dale.

He was quirky, funny, always popping off with something that would make you laugh. And boy, could he pick a mean guitar!

He sang about God, Heaven, Jesus and all those awesome things. But more importantly, he lived the same way. He was a Godly man that only missed church if there was a major situation. And he was there at the drop of a hat if you ever needed a thing.

He passed away on July 4, 2017 after having a stroke a few days earlier. We were preparing to go to the hospital where he was when we got the call that he had passed. Even sitting here tonight, it’s hard to believe he’s gone. The funeral today was nice. Brother Randy Buckles preached the service and all the things he said really made me think.

Even amidst the sadness that had cloaked us all today, we could rejoice knowing that Dale had finally made it home. At the “young” age of 61, he should still be here, but God’s ways are not our ways…

Tomorrow Is Never Promised

To be honest, we are all born “dying”. I’ve always thought it funny, in a morbid kind of way, that people say “so and so is dying” when they have a disease of some sort. I don’t mean to make light of any such situation! It’s just that we are ALL dying, from that first breath taken.

We just don’t talk about it.

Death is an appointment we all have to meet. The only thing is, we don’t know the date or time or the cause. Not really. But it’s as sure as the sun rising, unless the Lord calls us up before we taste death.

Life is a vapor. We wither like the grass and fall away like the flowers. Oh, but for those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior, it’s not the end of the story!

The Only Comfort

If you are lost today and don’t know Jesus, or you know Him and have fallen away, can I just share some good news? He died on that cross to make a way for you, and for me. It’s as simple as accepting that gift, giving your life to Him and knowing that you are grafted into the family. Or as simple as rededicating your life to Him, again.

Accepting the gift of salvation means that you will have a hope that no one can EVER steal from you. You can know that, even if death comes to call, that won’t be the end of your story.

And not only that, it will give such peace to those you leave behind. It will give them the peace of knowing that God didn’t put you in their past because of death. At that point, he puts you in their future. It gives them something to press on towards!

FOR YOU, it means that you will spend eternity in a city where there is no night. We will know, the Bible says, as we are known. We will meet all those who have died in the Lord and gone Home before us. I know I will have quite a reunion someday myself!

Choose, This Day

  • And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

There is no better time to choose to give your life to the Lord than TODAY! Because you simply don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Or if you’ll even see it at all.

As a matter of fact, the only thing that will matter at all, in the end, is if you are saved and the work you carried out for God. I know you’ve probably heard the ond saying, that you’ve never seen a hearse towing a U-Haul. Well, it’s true.

You’re not going to be able to take your college degree, your home, your car or anything else that you worked away so much of your life to have. You can leave it for your children, but at some point, they will have to leave it behind as well.

Say Goodbye, Then Get Ready

Saying goodbye certainly isn’t easy. Grief can be downright unbearable. But there is a comfort we have when we are saved that cannot be matched by anything else. I’m so glad that I am saved and have an eternal home. I’m glad that goodbye isn’t forever.

Aren’t you?

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