Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 29, 2020
We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world. But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead! Isaiah 26:18-19, NLT
Our dignity in death is being tested. We are unable to experience conventional funerals, because of the unconventional threat of more death if we do. This morning I saw a photo of cars lined up six feet apart, all positioned to see and hear a video screen stretched across the outside wall of a funeral home.. The live video feed was up close with a tight shot of the loved one’s head and shoulders. He looked peaceful, surreal and unaware, as those left behind were unable to have one last touch and goodbye. It felt unsatisfying, a saccharin aftertaste of grief.
The prophet Isaiah captures the sobering imagery of suffering, the agony of death. The futile idea that nothing but pain comes from a fragile, fallen world. The feelings of frustration for not being able to save the earth from its cruel condition, or to save a dying life. In God’s wisdom, he brings the spiritual giant of his day back to God—the author of life and death. God’s salvation for the dying offers eternal life to those who die in the Lord. Our Creator compassionately recognizes the grieving groans of His creation and will one day reign over a new heaven and a new earth. Hallelujah! Like the dew of the earth brings life to vegetation, so the Lord gives life-giving light.
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:8-9, NLT).
There is a severe comfort from our Savior Jesus Christ for those seeking to make sense of what seems like senseless deaths and unnecessary suffering:
“Those who die in the Lord are with the Lord
and those of us who die in the Lord will be with the Lord.”
Not everyone grows old, but everyone dies. Yet it’s the long shadow of our influence that matters most. You may ask, “What exactly does it mean to die in the Lord”? To die in the Lord means you lived in the Lord. You died to trusting your morality, accomplishments and self-reliance and came alive to trust Jesus Christ alone, what He accomplished on the cross by His self-sacrifice and forgiveness for your sins. You die in the Lord when you have lived for the Lord in this life.
Are you ready to meet the Lord? Have you made peace with God? Those who have peace with God experience the peace of God. Peace is evidence that you will die in the Lord. When you are quarantined with Christ alone, you can better learn to trust Christ alone. Use this crisis to move beyond your crisis of faith and embrace an authentic faith tried by fire, only to be found faithful. You are buried with Him in baptism raised to walk in newness of life—ready to die in the Lord.
“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was” (Romans 6:3-5).
Dear Lord, I praise you for the assurance of being with me in this life and in my pending death, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ask yourself if your faith is authentic. If not, pray this simple prayer, “Dear Jesus, I die to my self-reliance and place my faith totally in you, in your name I pray”.
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Not everyone grows old, but everyone dies. The long shadow of our influence is what matters most. #WisdomHunters #death #truth #Jesus
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