Monday, June 09, 2008

A Precious Death

Standing there in the Critical Care Unit, it was sobering to watch her caress his hand, probably like she caressed it for years. He had died twenty minutes earlier, but she sat there surrounded by friends showing her love and devotion to her life-long husband the only way she knew how.

There is something precious about the passing of a life-long Christian spouse. It’s not easy; it’s not to be taken lightly. But there is something unique about it.

As their pastor, I was called in early in the morning while he was dying and had a chance to talk with family and friends and pray with him. He had just enough strength left to be aware of me for a little less than a minute. He listened to me as much as he could, and I learned again in that moment there is nothing small or flippant about prayer. They called again about three hours later to let me know he died.

Several times she said they were soul-mates, and no doubt they were. They were married to each other for decades—the example of the kind of marriage being lost at an alarming rate. Together they were committed to Christ and to their local church through thick and thin—an example of the kind of dedication to faith and community so rare in our Christian world right now.

So when he died, that is the kind of life he left behind. That is the kind of life she shared with him and stood as a monument to there in that hospital room. When she took his hand, it was a hand she knew. It was hers as much as it was his. She sat next to a man she knew and loved through every season in life, and though death separated them for the moment she still loved him.

And then there is our confidence in his faith in Christ. He died a child of God, which means he is no longer confined to that hospital bed connected to respirators, IVs and monitors. She knew, and we were able confidently to encourage her, he was with his Savior. The apostle Paul says we long for our heavenly dwelling as we groan under the weight of this life. As more of our friends, mothers and fathers exchange this life for the next, the more attractive our heavenly reunion becomes.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Psalm 116:15

1 comment:

Shane Ogle said...

Phil,

Powerful words. Truth. The blessed hope. Resurrection. Perfect healing.

God bless,

Shane