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Archive for November, 2009

This week I went to a funeral.

Funerals are events we don’t like attending, and are a place where we never want to occupy those specially reserved seats at the front.

This funeral was especially close to home for me, as it was the funeral of my sister-in-law’s mum.  She had finally succumbed, after a gallant two-year fight, to that predatory evil disease known as cancer.

I went along to the funeral to support my brother and sister-in-law during this very tough time, but also to help care for their two precious daughters during a time that can be quite overwhelming, a little scary and very difficult to understand.  Their eldest daughter – whom I shall call princess butterfly is four years old, and ended up in my care for the latter part of the graveside  service and it was here that the questions began…

Why can’t Marnie (her name for her Grandma) open her eyes up?

Why does Marnie have to be in that box?  Can she get out?

Why can’t she wake up?

Such powerful questions – questions that we too want answers for!!! 

So how do we answer these questions for a four-year-old? 

How do we answer these questions for ourselves? 

The answer is simple…

With the truth!!

Death

We don’t want to talk about it until we have to and then when we do we are so uncertain of what has really happened many interesting stories about the hereafter are created – especially when talking with children.

I once saw a television show about a family of four children whose mother was killed in a car accident, the children then went to live with their aunt.  The children were told that God needed their mummy up in heaven, that was why she had died.  The morning after the funeral the youngest son was outside standing high on a tree pleading with God to send his mummy back because he really needed her and that if God couldn’t do that, could He please find a way for him to die really soon so that he could go up and be with his mummy again.

Did this story of God needing a young mummy comfort that child?  Did it paint a picture of a loving God?  I think not!!!  Who would love a God who kills mummies cause He needs them in heaven and leaves little tiny boys alone wanting to die so they can have their mummy back.

That’s not my God!!!

Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life.  I believe that He has given us the truth about everything – even death.

My kids have a video that is called Miracles of Jesus – in this video it has the story of Jairus’ daughter – for those who aren’t familiar with the story – Jairus is a leader in the church of Jesus day and his daughter became sick, so he went to find Jesus so that he could heal her sickness.  On the way to the house a servant of Jairus’ comes to inform him that his daughter is dead.  At this point in the video Jairus turns to Jesus to tell him not to bother coming any more as his daughter was now dead – Jesus’ response.  Jairus just believe! 

When they get to the house it is full of mourners, Jesus turns to Jairus and says do not worry your daughter is not dead she is just sleeping! One of the mourners turns to another and hisses – doesn’t he think we know death when we see it.

Jesus nods and says – They know death, but I know life!!!!

Do I hear an AMEN!!!

Jesus then goes in and restores this girl to life – life here on earth. 

Bit ripped off don’t you think? 

That she only got to spend such a short time up in heaven, only to have Jesus bring her back down to earth?  Or did God get it wrong and she really wasn’t needed up in heaven at that time??

Again some interesting questions????

I think the answer is also found in what Jesus said  – the girl is not dead – she is sleeping!!!!!

I tell my kids that death is a sleep that only Jesus can wake you up from!

So what is the truth about death?

It is my belief, and I base these beliefs on what I have read in the Bible – texts that I will share for you to read and contemplate for yourself, that death is a sleep, a time when we are on pause, waiting for Jesus to return to this earth and call all those who want to be in heaven with Him home.  And the dead in Christ will rise first!

Yes your eyes are not deceiving you – I DO NOT believe that we go to heaven when we die, neither do I believe that the bible teaches this. 

Text number one…For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.  Ecclesiastes 9:5

All bible readers have read that the wages of sin is death (romans 6:23)… Sin leads to death.  There’s no way around it, there’s nothing you can do about it, we are doomed from birth to die.  How and when it will happen, we don’t know, but we can be rest assured that at some point it WILL happen and the bible says in what we just read – that when we die we will know NOTHING!!!  

Text number two… “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out… John 5:28-29.

How can they hear his voice from the grave if they are already in heaven?  What would be the point of them going back to their graves to be resurrected again and taken to heaven where they just were – seems a bit ridiculous to me?

 Text number three…Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thess 4:13-17.

When Jesus comes again His voice will wake up all who believe in Him and then He will take them home to live with Him forever!!!

I believe that this is the truth about death – the death we experience is just a sleep, a sleep that Jesus will wake us up from when He comes again.  Until He wakes us up, we know nothing and are doing nothing but sleeping here on earth.

It is this truth that I shared with Princess Butterfly.  And do you want to know her response when I told her that the very next thing Marnie would see is Jesus face?  A big smile spread across her face and she said “and then she will see me running super fast to give her a great big cuddle and we will jump on the moon and the planets together!!!”

She had no thoughts of dying herself, she wasn’t angry at God for needing her beloved Marnie in heaven and taking her away.  She understood, that sin makes bad things like cancer and death happen and that someday soon (hopefully sooner than soon), Marnie will wake up again and she can spend eternity with her, because their friend Jesus had come back!!

You CAN handle the truth, because the truth came from the One who loves us more than life itself.

He is watching over Marnie now that she is asleep, He’s watching over my two grandfathers now they are alseep and I know He is watching over your loved ones who have gone to sleep. 

He wants them in Heaven and He will take them there at the RIGHT time.  The time that is right for all of us – the time when all who want to will be caught up in the clouds to be with our Lord forever.

I can’t wait for that day – may it be sooner than soon.

Even so Come Lord Jesus!!!

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