Seeing that today is Friday ... I invite you to pour a cup of your favorite Joe and join me for a couple of random (but I hope) fruitful thoughts.
1. The destruction and devastation that hurricane Matthew is leaving in its path is downright heartbreaking. For the people of Haiti who have suffered loss of life ... and for the survivors the loss of what little they had ... is heartbreaking. I am sure in coming days, opportunities will arise to give toward relieving their suffering. Please consider doing so. Every gift, no matter how small, when put together with other gifts, will go a long way toward helping these people who have to put their lives back together after having them ripped apart. Our world-wide Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has set up a storm relief fund through Encompass World Partners' Crisis Response Network to help assist in the relief effort in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida.
2. Death. It is something we will all one day face (unless, of course, Jesus Christ returns beforehand!). Yet death is something we rarely think about. Death is something we as a society have done our best to "sanitize." So instead of saying "My Uncle Tom died," we say, "My Uncle Tom passed away." Now I am not against using euphemisms for death. It does soften the reality being expressed (and even the Apostle Paul used an euphemism when referring to the deaths of believers when in 1 Thessalonians chapter four he referred to those who had died as being "asleep" - 1 Thessalonians 4:13). But try as we might to push the thought of death to the margins of our minds, the day will come when the vast majority of us will have to watch a loved one die. And that is never easy. Certainly when the eternal destination of that loved one is clear due to their firm and solid testimony of faith in the Savior Jesus Christ - there is a "sweetness" in that moment. And why not? What a thought to know one's loved one with their final breath will leave behind all the trials, pain and sorrow of living in a broken world, only to "awaken" in a place where "every tear will be wiped away" (Revelation 21:4-5)! Calling this to mind will already begin the process of healing our breaking hearts. Yet that sweetness is tempered by the bitterness of the moment. Watching a life fade away, knowing that a dreaded separation is about to occur, is not an easy experience.
These past few days my wife and I and our family have sat by the bedside of my mother-in-law whose death is rapidly approaching. As she is losing her grip on the barest of threads tying her to this life, it is a huge comfort knowing we are not alone. Yes, we have the staff of the Mennonite Home to help. And yes, there is the presence of the Hospice and Community Care staff. But there is also the presence of our God. And as he works through others and through his Spirit, our souls have been comforted, our faith strengthened, and our breaking hearts are even now beginning to mend ... if only a little bit! :)
My friends, as these past few days have reminded us, death will come calling for us all. When he does, will you be ready to leave this life and enter the next? If you have any questions or doubts, please take a moment and check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face.
Thanks for stopping by ... and thanks for your prayers!
P.S. My mother-in-law passed away on Saturday (October 8th) at 3:00 am.
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