Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Other Side of Life

Another early start to my day, 0330 or 3:30 am.  I listen to the wind as it beats against my home.  The windows rattle, the building groans and trash cans are strewn about.  
On the background of my iPad I am listening to Trek Cast:the Star Trek Podcast.  This is one of the many Star Trek podcasts I follow.  But enough about me.

My mind is racing and I cannot run away from what is going on.  

This blog post was born out of, forgive me, death.  So much of the world around me seems to be dying.  I listen to the news and there is death.  The missing Malaysian airplane, the ferry overturning near Korea, the spate of tornadoes in Oklahoma and other goings on around the globe.  As tragic as these incidents are they have no direct impact on me.  Yet, when death is closer to home, i.e., friends, family, a coworker or neighbor then the impact is direct.  

Recently a friend of mine from high school passed away and I was shocked and hurt to hear this.  SS (his initials) and I were in the same home room in high school although he and his brother were two years behind my brother and I.  The Simpsons were always outgoing brothers.  They are kind, friendly and a great joy to be around.  Never once did I ever see them not smiling or scurrying about from one person to another being an encouragement to all who are near them.  That is the point of living life, to be an encouragement to others and have an impact on the lives around you.  

After high school I joined the Marines and eventually settled in Pennsylvania.  Snirly and Sheridan and I lost touch and only recently found each other again via Facebook.  I heard that they are born again believers in Jesus Christ and active in their homechurch ministries.  No doubt touching lives and sharing the gospel of salvation.

As I recently shared with my brother, this subject of death has been on my mind a lot lately.  Naturally when so much loss is at the forefront of the news one begins to think about their own mortality and the what if's associated.  I was no different.  I began to look at my life and take stock of it.  
As I took in the news of Snirly's passing a scripture was in the back of my mind and it took some time for me to recall it.  Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."  
When I first read this I was offended.  No lie. Instead of seeking clarification into the meaning, I put it on the back burner and turned the page.  Now, a couple of years later and sprinkle in some spiritual maturity, the meaning is clear.  The greatest expectation for the believer (after salvation) is to be in the presence of the LORD.  We all want that.  Yet, how much more does God want it?  A great deal more.  
The verse tells me so.  Precious--something valuable or very important to a person.  Looking at death from the point of view of our Creator, made me realize that God values us and desires to be with us also.  That is why fellowship here now in our 'humanity' is soooooooo important.  It helps to bring the gap between us and Jehovah.  Once we pass on into glory there is no separation.  Hallejulah!!!
The other side of life brings a completion to our being.  For the believer it gives INSTANT understanding of God and His love for us.  For the non-believer they are INSTANTLY aware of their foolishness in rejecting salvation and see their eternal destiny apart from God.  

The first time I experienced death was when an uncle (my mothers brother) passed away.  I was about 5 or 6 years old.  It was very unsettling to me because I had never seen this kind of anguish from people.  Let alone my mother.  I was unnerved for some time afterwards.  But looking back death is a part of life.  It is part of the cycle of life we have to endure.  For some this joy and peace and others pain and despair.  Without Jesus Christ I would only know the pain and despair because not knowing what happens after we die would scare me.  Have I lived my life in vain or recklessly only to find out it could have been so much more?  
We all have regrets about our past and going forward from there we make or at least try to make better decisions and change along life's path. 
However, eternity offers NO such chances.  Our life decisions now determines our eternal resting place.  The other side of life can be peaceful and joyful because we are in the presence of the One who  created us and gave us the chance to find redemption and salvation through the cross of Christ. 

Pain and despair is found in the one who realizes they missed the opportunity at so great a salvation.  Death is only the end for our earthly bodies.  The mind, soul and spirit moves on.
I'm saying death does not scare me.  But i know what happens after.  That is the comfort I find when a loved ones or someone who is a believer in Jesus Christ dies.  

GOD IS WAITING FOR THEM!!! 

Much like the prodigal son when he returned home, his father was waiting for him.  We all know the father ran to the son and embraced him showering him with kisses and tears.  "My child has come home."
As born again believers we get a double portion of said greetings.  
When someone comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, there is rejoicing in heaven.  
When we get to heaven, again there is rejoicing.  

Death is not the end as many have come to believe.  I also thought along those lines.  We are only transitioning to our eternal reward.