When I was nineteen a good friend of mine was killed in a car crash. It was my first real encounter of someone close to me dying and it was devastating. I remember fainting when I saw his body. It was so unreal and it took me a long time to accept it. When you are young you feel immortal and death is not usually part of your reality. The death of someone close comes as a terrible shock.
Probably the hardest thing for any of us to face is the mystery of death, especially the death of a young person, or child. Often at funerals you hear people talking about the person who has died as though their existence was now finished. ‘He lives on in our memories’, as though that was the only way they live on. For us Christians, nothing could be further from the truth. Believing what we believe can make all the difference in the world, because it gives us a totally different picture.
A person’s death comes as a shock to us, but remember it is not a shock to God. The Lord has been expecting them and knew the exact moment when they would leave this earth, but their life is just as real now as it was on earth. In fact they are now alive more intensely than we are, because they are no longer restricted as we are. They no longer carry all the emotional baggage and physical restrictions that we have. They have full knowledge and no longer need faith, because they experience God face to face. Everything now makes sense to them. All the questions they had throughout their lives are now answered. That is what we believe and that is what awaits us, if we make the right choices.
There is a beautiful sculpture I came across by a man called Jerry Anderson. It shows an old woman standing at a doorway with one hand on the door, about to go through. She is looking over her shoulder at what lay behind. On the other side of the door you see the same person coming through as a young woman and she is meeting Jesus. This is a beautiful depiction of how we understand death. That is what will happen, but we are not always convinced of this. The shock of death leaves us with many questions and very few answers and these kinds of ideas can just seem like pious ideas, but we believe that is exactly what will happen.
|'Come to Me,' by Jerry Anderson|