â€œDo not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Revelation 1:17-18 (NIV)
God has blessed me by taking me through many â€œdeathsâ€ in my life. Yes, I do mean blessed. As a hospice nurse, I was honored to be in attendance as many people achieved victory over the disease that caused suffering. I saw the peace and joy come to their faces as they saw their Savior.
Looking Death in the face and knowing that you do so with the assurance of Jesus Christ is a glorious place to be. I do not fear flying in airplanes. I do not dread medical tests. I can only do it all because of the One who holds my hand â€“ Jesus.
I used to have notes in envelopes addressed to each of my children and my husband. I would update them as milestones came in their lives and in my life. Now, embracing modern technology, I have notes on the hard drive of my computer. Jesus left notes for me that have spoken to me on good days and on my worse days. He is faithful to speak to my heart, day or night.
â€œDonâ€™t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Fatherâ€™s house are many homes. If it werenâ€™t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. Where I go, you know, and you know the way…
Behold, the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered, everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.â€ Â Â Â Â John 14:1-4, 16:32-33 (WEB)
Death comes with many faces. It can be the end of life here on this earth. It can be the end of a relationship. It can be the end of a â€˜seasonâ€™ in my life in which I will have to make some changes. It may be the death of an attitude or life style where I know I will (and must) make a change and never look back. The psalmist said that I would â€œwalk through the valley of the shadow of deathâ€. (Psalm 23) I will walk through. I will not be setting up housekeeping and living in the valley. And I will not be walking through the valley alone! God is with me! No matter what name is on the death that I must walk through â€“ God is with me.
Let us take a deep breath today and consider how death has been a part of our lives. And then let us read again Jesusâ€™ words in Johnâ€™s gospel and in Revelation. Dispel any lingering fears and walk forward with our hands clasped firmly and warmly in Jesusâ€™ hand. Live this life in joy and with the assurance of where we are going. Live this life with our focus on Kingdom work with the final celebration including all who will come!