Leave It to a Funeral
By Art Rainer
July 21, 2009
Here are my thoughts:
Leave it to a funeral to make me remember that death will happen to me, to you. It is coming. It cannot be stopped. Though we try through better health, medicine and surgeries, we only prolong the inevitable. One day, our hearts will stop, our blood will cease flowing and our life on this earth will be complete. I will be that person in a box.
Leave it to a funeral to remind me to love those near me, those far away from me. I look at my wife and see that each moment is precious; each is a gift from God. I remember to tell her that I love her and that I am glad she is on this journey with me. I remember those friends with whom I have lost contact and wonder where they are now and what I might have lost by not caring enough to give them a call.
Leave it to a funeral to show me the brevity of life, the uncertainty of life. Who on this earth knows what tomorrow may bring? Who knows our timeline? God holds our lives in His hands, and it is Him and only Him who sees our beginning and our end on this earth.
Leave it to a funeral to realize how petty I am, how I place so much focus on the minor aspects of life instead of the grand picture. It is amazing how I let the little things affect my life. I can let one abrasive confrontation determine my mindset, my mood for at least a portion of the day, maybe even the entire day. So much of my mental and physical time is lost, wasted on these moments with little retribution for my time spent. What would happen if I tried to view life as a whole, as something bigger and let the little things go?
Leave it to a funeral to reveal to me how important my mark on this planet can be, or cannot be. Our imprint will be left whether we want it to or not. It may be short; it may be lasting. It may be great; it may be small. It may be pleasant; it may be loathsome. Whatever it may be, it will exist; it will be your legacy.
Leave it to a funeral to make me want to apologize to those who I have hurt, to forgive those who have hurt me. Jesus says to forgive without end. Throughout life we make mistakes and mistakes are made against us. We have a brief opportunity to make amends while on this rock, and each chance we have to forgive or ask for forgiveness should be taken with fervor.
Leave it to a funeral to give me a desire to learn more about my God, to develop a closer relationship with Him. Though we will not fully know Him until this life passes, I want to uncover as much as I can about my God. When I get to heaven, I want to be able to reminisce with God about the times we had on earth, about the times we shared together, about the times when we laughed and the times we cried.
Leave it to a funeral to make me realize that death is not the end, but is somehow the beginning. I love how Philip Yancy, in his book Where Is God When It Hurts?, compares human death to the birth of an infant. Caught up and comfortable in our current surroundings, we are suddenly released into a whole new and better place. For the baby, it is going from the mother’s uterus to the world. For the dying Christian, it is going from the world to a completely new and unfathomable existence. For both, there is a moment of discomfort and fear, but neither would ever return to their previous state of being.
Leave it to a funeral to remind me how little we know about death and how much we want to avoid the subject. The sensation of death is only known to those whose soul has already left this earth leaving us, the living, wondering, waiting. Death is hardly the conversation topic of choice. Because we do not know, because we have not experienced it, the subject creates uneasiness. Especially among those who do not have hope for the afterlife, death, the end, is a matter to avoid. I do not envy their position.
Leave it to a funeral to make me want to cherish every moment that I have, that God has given me. As I have gotten older, time has seemed to take on a newer, faster pace. When I was young, the days were slow, Christmas seemed to never come. Now, I go to sleep in January and somehow wake up in June, uncertain of where the time has hidden itself. As hours, days, weeks, months, years get shorter, I am reminded to grab hold of each moment and savor each instant. We need to slow down our warp speed lives and relax a little, enjoy a little.
Leave it to a funeral to make me once again understand the beauty of salvation. Though we will not always be here on this planet, we will always live. There will be life after this short trip, and because of what Christ did with His time on earth, we are able to spend a beautiful eternity in His presence. We can live beyond the grave.
Leave it to a funeral to show me the importance of living out Jesus’ words to “Go and make disciples of all the nations …” (Matthew 28:19). We have a responsibility to those around us. We are in charge of presenting the amazing story of Jesus both physically and verbally to our communities. Our hearts need to be urgent. We can be the difference makers. We have to be the difference makers.