Those who die will not succumb but rise to praise You
They will come to be reborn with life You gave us
- from God Have You Abandoned Me (Psalm 22)
Words and music by Randy & Jeremy Daw
To you, it may have seemed an ordinary Wednesday morning, an ordinary September day...
Wondering what we’d see next.
My brother and younger sister weren’t far away. None of us wanted to go far.
From the previous Saturday onward, the staff at my mom’s assisted living facility had graciously given us use of an independent-living cottage on-site. We all four moved in, often with an in-law or two or three or four staying as well.
We were in and out of Mama’s room during the days and nights, staying when we were scheduled, popping in and out anyway when we weren’t. We knew our time with her was running on empty. We couldn’t leave now.
She had stopped eating and drinking the week before. Who knows why. Ever since her sweetheart died on Valentine’s Day seven months earlier, she wanted to be with him, our dad. How much of that she understood now, we couldn’t tell. Alzheimer’s had robbed her mercilessly.
On the morning of September 8th, her appointment to leave was imminent. We knew it.
She was a woman in labor, her soul being birthed from one world to another.
We all four gathered, attendants for her new birth in the heavenly realms as she had been present for ours in physical birth. She breathed hard and heavy and quick. We were pained to watch her, but too pained to leave.
Then finally, with one final effort, she was finished here. Her work was done.
I saw God juxtaposing life and death, death and life.
Never again would my mom feel pain. Never again would her mind be muddled. Sorting out confusion would now be our task.
As we stepped out of Mama’s room to make phone calls, a room she would never struggle to exit again, something else happened.
The opposite door across the hall opened. And out was coming Mrs. H.
Still trapped was Mrs. H.
She was in her wheelchair, moaning for help. “Can’t someone give me a shove?”
Have I ever seen so great a contrast in my life?
On one side of the hall was release and freedom and restoration.
But on the other side of the hall was an imprisoned soul, still enslaved.
In case you see death as an undefeated enemy, look again.
It was as if God were saying, “Notice! I even use death for my purposes, to usher in victory and relief and joy.”
Yes, enjoy this life. Love in it. Be loved in it. But when it’s time, let it go. There is much better living ahead. There are no ordinary days there.
The contrast couldn’t be greater.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
1 Corinthians 15:55
And I heard a voice from heaven saying,
“Write this: Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord from now on.”
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