Are you ready?
"Joanna, wake up."
I looked at my alarm clock and blinked. It was 5:30am, Wednesday morning.
"I have some sad news."
"Jer, you had a bad dream" I croaked. "Go back to bed."
It took a minute, but after the fog in my tired brain cleared, what my 9 year old brother had said, finally registered.
Saturday had been my Grandmother's 92nd birthday. She had been living with us for almost 3 years and had become a very big, and wonderful part of my family's life.
We celebrated Grandma Ruth's birthday Monday night at a restaurant in town. She ate her favorite meal, followed by a homemade pecan pie. She was lively, animated, witty and joyful. She stayed up late that night enjoying the company of my parents and sharing stories of her early life. Grandma was at the top of her game.
But Tuesday morning was very different. She was not her cheerful self. The first thing she said that morning was a grumpy "Shutup" to her loud and sometimes annoying room-mate, the bird. As the morning progressed my parents quickly realized that something was very wrong. By afternoon my Grandma had been admitted to the emergency room, and was struggling to breathe.
When I went to bed late Tuesday night, she was doing much better and my last thought was a prayer for my Grandma's health, as I drifted to sleep.
I was not prepared for what I woke up to the very next day. Maybe I hadn't realized how serious the situation was when she went into the hospital the day before. Maybe I had just denied it.
Grandma's death was unexpected.
If you had told me on Saturday that my Grandma would pass away within a matter of days I wouldn't have believed you.
For a 92 year old with Alzheimer's that has lived a long, full life it is a little easier to say goodbye. But not everyone lives to be 92 years old. Last week a woman just a little older than my mother died as a result of a long and hard battle with breast cancer. A few months ago a 27 year old family friend passed away with absolutely no warning. One day here and the next, gone.
Death is unexpected.
For family and friends, letting go is painfully hard. Death is not pleasant. Death is very real, and not as uncommon as we would wish it to be.
We live in a broken world. See all the pain? The suffering? The persecution? The evil?
Something is very wrong.
We are not made for this world. It's ruined. Ruined with our sin. It goes all the way back to the very first man and woman, and their decision to disobey their creator, God. Everyday we continue that decision of rebellion that they started in the Garden of Eden.
God knew that we would choose to turn away from Him. He knew that His perfect creation would be destroyed by the sin that we chose. God did not create a broken world full of sin, but he did have a plan when we messed it up with our selfishness. He sent his son, Jesus to die.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The wages of sin is death.
Sin has a big price tag. The death that verse is referring to is not simply physical death. The "death" here is speaking of eternal separation from God. Forever. That place of separation is hell. Since we have all rebelled against the righteous God of the universe we all deserve death.
But when Jesus died he payed the required penalty of sin so that you and I could have the opportunity to live with Him forever, in the perfect place that we were created for!
However, if we do not choose to accept that gift of eternal life we will be accountable for paying the price of sin ourselves.
My Grandma loved Jesus. The two women that I mentioned above also loved Jesus. Because all three of them made the the choice to put their trust and faith in Him to save them from their sins I have confidence that I will see them again someday. The reason I have that confidence is because I too have put my trust in Christ, giving me access to eternal life with Him in heaven.
Death is unexpected.
We don't know when our time on this earth will be over.
Are you ready to die?
You could die next week. You could die tomorrow. You could die today.
Are you ready?
I could die within the next 5 minutes, I could die in 50 years. I don't know when I'll die. But I do know that I'm ready, whenever that day comes.
I rejoice for my Grandma! She has graduated from this broken world and is with her Savior in Heaven! She is finally home.
I cry, because I miss her sweet smile. I hurt, because death is painful. But I rejoice! I look forward to the day when I will be reunited with her.
But much more than that, my soul longs to see the face of Jesus Christ, my Savior and the love of my life.
I miss you, Grandma. But mostly I'm just jealous. I want to go home too!
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far..."
"...admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
-1 Corinthians 15:55-57