The title of this book by Dr. Kevin Leman caught my eye recently: Adolescence Isn’t Terminal. Isn’t terminal for whom? The child or the parent?
This is probably a book that I needed to read about ten years ago before I married Craig and became step-mom to his three adolescent children, because there were several instances when I was certain that someone was about to meet their Maker.
While adolescence may not be terminal, birth is.
I drive by a billboard every morning that says :
“Welcome to Florida.
Mortality rate = 100%
Are you ready?”
When someone dear to us dies, we grieve. So often the question echoes through the air: “why did God take him/her at such an early age?” Until heaven, we may never know.
Yesterday, Craig was watching – for the umpteenth time – the Star Wars movie in which Anikin becomes Darth Vadar. In a conversation with Yoda, Anikin angrily described a prophetic dream in which his wife died. Yoda made a very profound spiritual statement … for a secular movie. “Death is a part of life. We should celebrate those who become one with The Force.” (emphasis and capitalization mine)
The Christian artist Carmen recorded a piece called The Third Heaven. In this story, Carmen is speaking in the first person as he dies in an emergency room and makes his ascent into heaven. He is describing the feelings, the sights and sounds. When he arrives at the Throne of God, the Father tells him that his loved ones are praying for his return to earth because they grieve for and miss him. Because of their fervent prayers, if he so desires, God will return him to earth. Carmen tells The Lord, “No, Lord! I do not want to go back there!” He goes on to say that, if they could just see this place, they would never ask him to return to earth.
A couple of years ago, in the space of less than a week, two people who were very dear to me died. One was an 18 year old young man. A soldier for Christ in his generation. An encourager, a friendly shoulder for every young person, a young man that parents trusted to be a positive, godly influence on their kids. The other was my 92 year old grandmother. A godly woman who strongly influenced me as a child, raised my mother and her seven siblings (two of whom died as infants), farmed to support her household, and never missed a church service until she was admitted to a nursing home. Both of these funerals were held on the same day. We raced to Orlando for Grandmother’s funeral in the late morning, then sped back to Lake City for Darryl’s service in the afternoon. Even though there were many tears shed at both services, there was a peaceful joy in those tears because we know where both souls rest for eternity.
Why did Darryl die at the age of 18 while Grandmother lived into her 90’s? The only thing we know is that God alone knows the number of our days. That number is planned long before the earth was formed.
There is a purpose in every death. Someone will be impacted by the demise of that person, and has the choice to react positively or negatively. If the deceased was a Believer, then we can celebrate his graduation from this school of flesh. We may grieve that we cannot fellowship with him longer on this earth, but we must be glad that he has passed from death unto life. If he could say one thing to us on this earth, he would say “Do NOT weep for me! I have arrived. There is no sorrow. I wish you were here.” However, if the deceased was not a follower of Christ, then his death serves as grim reminder that the fields are white and ready for harvest. We must remain vigilant in our walk with Christ, that the lost see Christ’s love through us.
The sobering realization here is: we really do not know when our time here is finished. We must live like each day will be our last.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.