Monday, September 13, 2010

Precious in the Sight of God

In June I wrote about my friend Karen, a former coworker who had been dealing with cancer. Last week I went to her memorial service, a true celebration of a remarkable woman who loved her God, and who also loved and served people the Lord sent her way.

During the service I recalled a peculiar Bible passage: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). At first glance, this verse makes God seem like a sadist. How could He enjoy seeing people die? As I’ve pondered it over the years, however, this declaration seems true – and right.

Imagine a baby in the womb: Climate-controlled, continuous food supply, the soothing cadence of mother’s heartbeat. What a life! For the baby, that’s all the world there is. Suddenly things begin to change. The cozy living chamber contracts, pushing the little one toward a narrow opening and into another, unknown world.

If the infant could choose at that moment, it certainly would say, “No, thanks. I’m fine right here.” But the womb world, as comfortable as it’s been, isn’t all there is – far from it. There’s a vast, unimaginable, wondrous world it’s about to encounter for the first time. Soon this new world will be all it knows – or wants.

I believe it’s the same for God’s children. We cling to this visible, tangible, temporal, finite world like it’s all there is, but one day God will introduce us to a world we could never imagine. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

That's why the death of His saints is precious to God: He has prepared something wonderful, far beyond comprehension, for each of us. Like a parent eager to unveil a special, unexpected surprise for a beloved child, the Lord waits in great anticipation to say, “Welcome, child. Look what I have for you!”

During Karen’s memorial service, the pastor noted one of her last words, with eyes wide open and looking up, was a gentle, “Wow!” Who knows what she saw? I don’t. But I’m convinced with every fiber of my being that for each of us who are God’s children, trusting in “the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13), a “Wow!” awaits us, too.


Dan E said...

I have heard stories of the dying verbalizing things like Karen...they are seeing something beyond this realm of reality. How I wish I could see just a tiny bit of what lies beyond - maybe it would increase my faith to believe God for more, to trust Him better, to really live like I believe what I say I believe. Alas, we are called to walk by faith. He tells us to trust in Him, to believe in Him, that He has in store things beyond our imaginations and comprehension. That should be enough, so that when that day and moment comes, we too, like Karen will say WOW! I remember in the movie Contact, when Jodi Foster gets to see her father in another world after his death, she repeats over and over something like...I just never knew, I just never knew. Well - God told us - we should know - and we should believe and then live expectantly. What do you think?

Bob Tamasy said...

Well, Hebrews 11:1 does tell us that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." But it's a hope - earnest expectation, confident assurance in God and His promises - not just a "hope-so." Yes, like a blind person who suddenly receives sight through a medical procedure and is amazing at what he sees, I believe that when we move to what I call "the other side of eternity" (because Scripture states we HAVE eternal life right now), we will see with spiritual eyes what we could not imagine in this life. It makes me think of the scene in "The Shack" where Mack briefly sees a glimpse of Heaven.