Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The changing seasons

Today’s Readings: Acts 13:36-37 NIV

36 [Paul said,] “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.”

Good morning!

His philosophy on death flooded my mind that night, as I made the cold midnight drive into the city. I remembered standing next to my father, watching him dig a small grave for our pet hamster. A man of few words, Daddy looked me in the eye and said, “Death is the natural end to a beautiful beginning. We can be thankful for our pets, but try to understand that death is simply part of life.” It certainly wasn’t the most eloquent funeral eulogy I’ve ever heard. Daddy seemed satisfied with this concept. The whole thing seemed much more complicated to me. After all, I had just lost the first pet I had ever learned to love. This hamster was my very best friend. He was soft and furry, and loved me unconditionally. Who would I tell all my secrets to now?

Daddy enjoyed the changing of seasons. He loved being outdoors and was never bothered by extreme heat or cold. A born hunter and avid fisherman, Daddy would roll out of bed at 3am, put on a pair of waders, and stand in the icy cold river waiting for that loud 5am start siren to sound. He wanted to see if he could catch his limit in thirty minutes or less. Quite often, Daddy would be back at the camper before dawn with supper on a string. He blended into nature like the deer that disappears into a wooded thicket just beyond the open field. Concepts of life and death and the changing of seasons seemed absolute in Daddy’s human heart. I felt there had to be more to understanding life and death than mere thoughts of nature simply running its course.

I know Daddy would have made a lousy patient. He would have hated being attached to all the life saving equipment, and for what? Death was a natural part of life. I tried to justify his sudden and unexpected death in my mind while driving home in the cold. One minute, he was here, and the next, gone. Mother kept repeating the words over and over again, “I didn’t get to say goodbye.” She sounded so alone; I could find no words to comfort her broken heart. Life begins and ends when we least expect it. My mother had lost her very best friend. Who would she tell all her secrets to now?

When David served out God’s plan and purpose in the generation to which he was born, he fell asleep in the loving arms of His Father. Today I find this Scripture extraordinarily comforting, knowing that every human heart is born with God’s greater plan and purpose. We live, serving the Lord in this generation, and when the appointed time comes, we fall asleep in the arms of our Heavenly Father. David dreamed of the day when the promised seed, the Holy One, would come and defeat the sting of death forever. I knew that night, without a doubt, my Father’s spirit was no longer bound within failing earthly flesh; the only One who conquered death forever had come to take my Daddy home. Sin, sickness and imperfections are forever conquered in the arms of Christ. There is new hope for the hopeless; our earthly goodbyes are no longer necessary.

All honor and praise be given to the Lord Jesus Christ, who completes the human circle of life! He is the reason we live and move and have our being. Death’s grip is broken, now and forever. You were born with a purpose, specifically for this time, and the Father longs to see you live each day in the light of His love. Choose life! Choose Christ! He calls you to give Him your all, and His promises are sure. He will hold your heart through the changing seasons.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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