All So Fast
My family has had a lot of sorrow these past two months. In September my sister Sonja and her husband JP both died of Covid within two days of each other. It was such a surprise. Sonja had been caring for my aging dad, now almost 88-years-old. When he picked up Covid, she had him rushed to the hospital. But then she got sick, and then her husband. We had only a few days before JP and then Sonja had passed into eternity.
My aged father made it through Covid double-pneumonia strangely enough, but has since deteriorated significantly and is now on hospice and hoping to see His Savior soon.
Wow! So much… so fast. Death is so normal, so common – millions die every day. But death is not good, and death is not right, and death was not in God’s original design. It takes your loved ones out of view and out of reach, made worse when it does so suddenly, or does so years or decades before their expected departure. It is a witness that this whole earth is broken and in need of fixing.
Thinkful for Future Fixes
Death is no stranger in the Bible – the word is mentioned more than 500 times. Fortunately, Death lost its keys, its teeth, its power and its sting at the cross (Rev. 1:18, Heb. 2:14-15, 2 Tim. 1:10). Those who live and believe in Jesus will never die; their earthsuits will shut down and go to sleep, but the core of who they really are, their soul-spirit, will rise undiminished in freedom and elation to the side of the One who chose them and called them into His Kingdom and family.
For those who walk with Jesus, the fear of death is gone. But one day, Death, as the last enemy, will be vanquished forever (1 Cor. 15:26, Rev. 20:14, 21:4). Amazing. Death will be gone.
Thinkful For Current Joys
We were thankful that the Lord sustained dad so that some of us traveling in for Sonja and JP’s funerals were able to visit with him; he was not snatched away from us. We were also thankful that the Lord chose to heal dad of Covid.
When dad moved into hospice, he was assigned a chaplain. We were so thankful that, in God’s providential kindness, the chaplain had been a missionary, just like my dad. They connected right away about getting the gospel to the lost who have never heard. Now on a regular basis this dear man visits, reads scripture to him, and they pray together. My brothers were able to organize a CD player with a hymns CD that is playing in dad’s room. The old hymns of grace are ministering to his spirit as he rests.
Thinkful for Past Memories
As our hearts ache and we struggle to accept the fact that these dear ones are suddenly gone, we also recount a lot of sweet memories. Just this past July, the Lord allowed me to visit with dad and Sonja three times. One of those times, Sonja shared with me that she had acquired some scripture cards online and was giving them out to people at the bank or the shop, especially if they looked sad. I loved seeing her desire to share the Lord and give hope to people through His Word. Little did we know that she had only a few weeks left.
I think of childhood memories growing up in Norway and how we loved to sled down the hill to where we lived in Brumunddal. Sonja was so daring. She didn’t seem to fear anything. I admired her courage. In the frigid winter months, we would cozy up, and our mom would read library books to us in the evening as we sat with our knitting. When she would come to the end of a chapter, we would always say, “Just one more chapter.” 🙂
A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.C. S Lewis
We live beside the Indian Ocean where the beach is broken up by rock outcroppings against which the waves crash. Grief is like a wave of the sea. It billows so strongly and then subsides, then billows again.
What has been an anchor for my soul in times of deep sorrow over the years is latching onto a special verse from God’s Word. This time I chose Psalm 71:3a “Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come.” When the waves come, I hold onto the rock, but amazingly the Rock holds onto me as well. With the rock, the waves are not so frightening, and I will not be swept away.
- JP and Sonja went to heaven so closely. They would have struggled so to be left alone without the other. God was merciful and took them together.
- Dad has had a wonderful life serving the Lord, and now when he is finishing up, he can look forward to his reward and not be afraid to meet his Creator.
- Chaplain Todd Johnson is being like a balm in Gilead and ministering to my dad. This is such a special kindness to me being so far away here in Africa. Very thankful to God for this.
- My brothers provided the CD player and dad’s favorite hymn CD to be played in his room.
- My brothers have visited with my dad, told him they loved him, and he replied that he loved them too.
- Psalm 71:3a is a comfort to my soul.
- So many people are praying for us, and it pours grace over us.
- When you come face to face with death, it helps you to live differently, more purposefully. It is a good thing to clarify your focus, priorities, and goals in life.