Monday, February 9, 2009

Good-bye or I'll See You in the Morning

For some reason I have had to deal with a subject that I had rather avoid, death. I do not like thinking abour death do you? Yet, death is a certainty, for as sure as we are born we will die. We all will pass from this life to another. Where we spend eternity will be based on decisions we have made in this life.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my sister about a dear friend of hers who had died. It was so hard for her. Then the next morning a friend of mine was so grieving over his wife who died a few months ago. My heart ached for him. 

Hoping to change my thoughts, I turned on the radio. Chip Ingram was telling a story that went something like this about a dying man who called his three sons to his side to speak to them before dying. To two of his sons who had accepted Christ as their savior, he said, "Sons, I will not tell you bye, for I will see you in the morning." To the other one who had not chosen Christ in his life, he said, "Good-bye son, for I will never see you again."

Then again this past week, I was faced with "IT" again. While sitting in the critical intensive care waiting room I watched as a man finally gave in to his emotions and wept uncontrollably. He shared with me how a few years earlier he had sat with his mother and was able to speak to her as she took her last breath. Now, his father's surgeon had brought the message that he had done all the could do for him and it was just a matter of time before he would die. He went on to say that the hardest thing to deal with was not being able to talk with him during these last few moments.

I have been with many families as they sit by the bedside waiting for their loved one to die. There is one thing that determines the actions, words spoken, feelings expressed, or the presence or absence of peace, and that is, whether the person had a living relationship with God and his son, Jesus Christ. I call it bittersweet, for out of the bitterness of separation of family and friends, there is a peace within that can come only from our heavenly Father.

Death is hard, but as I have thought about it, I was reminded of Psalms 23, "The Lord is my shepherd, and... Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me...."  God has been faithful to his word, for I do know that when my Papa Ledbetter died,  when I sang at my Mama Ledbetter's funeral, and when I was able to be with my father-in-law as he took his last breath and left this world to be with God, Jesus, and other family members who went before him, God gave me peace.

My desire for you, my grieving friends, is that God will give you a peace that surpasses your understanding about your loss, and that you will see your loved ones "in the morning."

Have you experienced this peace? How did you deal with the grief brought on by death of a loved one?