10 February 2021
Eight years ago today, 10 February 2013, our Dad died ‘in the Lord’ only four days after his 91st birthday. We celebrated all the promises of eternal life, hope, Heaven, the resurrection in glory, ‘we would rather be away from the body and at Home with the Lord,’ ‘blessed are the dead who die in the Lord’ – all of them. But perhaps one of the promises we most rejoiced in is the victory-in-death warranty that Paul gave us in 1 Corinthians 3.21-23 where he assures us that we ‘own’ death, too.
“For all things are yours, whether…life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”
Death is ours! We ‘own’ death! Death is in our inheritance in Christ! Death itself is a gift from God! I learned a long time ago that the only way we believers in Christ can go to Heaven to be with Christ – which is far better! – is to die from here! And besides all the promises of being ushered into the Presence of Christ, death for Dad was a discharge and release from the heart-breaking suffering he endured and we witnessed during his final days as his physical body was breaking down and wasting away until it could no longer sustain his life. We grieved for our sorrow, but we could only rejoice that he had, at that moment, inherited “fullness of joy…pleasures forevermore.”
Death, for a believer in Christ is deliverance from that death! Death itself is your token to “get out of death free and go to eternal life”!
But his legacy continues to live on here in us, his children. I was mediating in Psalm 78 just yesterday morning:
“I will declare wise sayings; I will speak mysteries from the past – things we have heard and known and that our fathers have passed down to us. We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, His might, and the wondrous works He has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children so that a future generation – children yet to be born – might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands” ~Psalm 78.2-7 HCSB
Our Dad did ALL that! And Mom, we bless you, too! You both not only taught us well, but you lived before us and invested in us the life of faith in Christ that we learned from you, have professed, and are following. He invested his life and faith in Christ in us, and now his influence continues to outlast the death of his physical body!
So, as a tribute to our Dad – and our Mom – I want to post again this poem I wrote to him and Mom on his birthday way back in 1975. I set it to music and sang it for him many times, and it brought him pleasure then – but the pleasure he enjoyed while he lived here will pale to a weak chuckle in the fullness of joy that will thrill him when we also arrive to be with the Lord and with him … because ‘my father taught me to fear the LORD’!