This past week I watched as my good friend slowly left this life to enter the presence of Jesus. It’s never easy as we say good-by to a dear friend. I read these comforting words of Jesus as He spoke to His disciples,
Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1)
All of us realize that we’re going to die someday, but we avoid thinking about it. If we contemplated the brevity of our lives we would probably live differently. Too many people are busy acquiring status and accumulating possessions but lacking meaning in their lives.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom relates the story of one of Mitch’s former professors (Morrie Schwarz) who was slowly dying. Mitch would meet with Morrie on Tuesdays as Morrie taught about what was really important in life. Morrie told Mitch, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” (p. 82). Could this be the reason why so few people know how to truly live – they’ve never learned how to die.
I learned some lessons on how to die from my son-in-law Matthew as he faced death with a confident assurance. I witnessed that same trust and assurance in my friend this past week. If we know we’re going to die then we should prepare for it.
Tuesdays with Morrie reminds us, “Death ends a life, not a relationship” (p. 174). The memories of our loved ones live on in the hearts of all who have been touched by their love. As you devote yourself to loving others you will discover that your life has purpose and meaning.
Death is never easy – the pain and sadness linger on. But we do not grieve as those with no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Morrie related this story to Mitch,
“Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.
“My God, this is terrible,” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!”
Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, “Why do you look so sad?”
The first wave says, “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”
The second wave says, “No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.” (p. 179-180)
Death is not the end, it’s the beginning of a new life with Jesus,
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5