Sunday, June 15, 2008

God is the Author of Life (Star Press Column 6.12.08)

It all started with reading Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, followed by a close friend's serious cancer diagnosis. Then, there was the death of a former high school classmate.

Death has been on my mind a lot lately.

Actually, I think about dying at some point every day, not in a morbid way, but in an "Are you ready? Is there unfinished business? How do you want to be remembered?" way, which is constructive, to a point.

What's not constructive is allowing myself to be tortured by the fear of leaving my children and husband. As a believer, I must draw the line of rumination there. I can't give in to hand-wringing.

Henri Nouwen spoke about the unique relationship of a trapeze team. When the flyer lets go of his bar and hangs in mid-air for a split second, he has no security. He cannot see his catcher nor control the catcher's speed or method. But at just the right moment, the flyer's "savior" arrives and whisks him to the base.

Most of us believe death will be like that frightening moment of suspension. But 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “We should be cheerful, because we would rather leave these bodies and be at home with the Lord.”

In other words, we will not be left hanging for one moment because to let go here makes us present there.

*Sometimes when I sit down to write, I face the blank screen and feel uncertain and anxious—the term is “writer’s block.” After this sad, question-filled week, I’m comforted by the thought that although life is uncertain, it is not unwritten. That is to say, God is the author of life, and he has never suffered writer’s block. He is not uneasy about the future at all.

*That’s why Christians shouldn’t despair. Death is simply another part of each of our stories.

Paul says, "When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same body it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or something else. But God gives it a body that he has planned for it" (Corinthians 15:35-38).

The key phrase is: "that he has planned for it." We who trust in Christ can know that as the story of our life unfolds, we are in His sight and in His thoughts, safe in the strong hands of our savior and "catcher" who has planned for us to be with Him forever. Nothing can pry us from his loving grip.

*section that was edited/partly omitted that I re-inserted here.


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I love that visual of the seed...thanks so much for sharing!

living4him5 said...

Hi Linda! I've been reading your blog for a few months because I LOVED your American idol commentary!! LOL...

Anyway, your post today really touched me. My sweet cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday; she's 30 years old with 5 beautiful kids and a great husband. My aunt died this week as well. She was very ill and we know she's with Jesus but it still hurts. I too, have been thinking about death this week as I'm a young mother with three kids. When I read your post, I felt peace immediately so I just wanted to say THANK YOU! And you're so right!! God is the author of our lives and that gives me comfort.

Hope you have a wonderful week!
Amy =)

Grace said...

Thanks for a beautiful post. "That he has planned for it" covers much...

Mocha with Linda said...

Great thoughts and analogies. As a nurse, I've always tended to think about this a lot.

Someone once said "I'm not scared of death. I just don't want to be there when it happens." That's pretty much me. It's not so much death as the process of dying that is unsettling.

At a funeral recently, a minister gave such a sweet example for the little girls whose mom had died. He likened it to when a child is exhausted after a long day and dad picks her up and she falls asleep on his shoulder and wakes up the next morning in her own bed.

What a sweet picture, to fall asleep being held by our Father and wake up in our home above.

Erin said...

That diet sounds suspiciously like my "black polka dot dress" diet. I have to fit back into the dress that I bought for my cousins wedding which is in 4 weeks. I can do it, I can do can you. : )

Anonymous said...

"...although life is uncertain, it is not unwritten."

Linda, this is RICH.
A wonderful lady died of a brain tumor on Saturday. Our neighbor is currently on a ventilator, and her husband must decide on Thursday whether to turn it off. Life IS uncertain, but you are so right--it is already written.

I'm so glad to know the Lord, and to be certain that to be absent from this world is to be present with Him...forever.

dcrmom said...

Linda, that's beautiful.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

So wonderful and so very true!

MoziEsmé said...

Also like the seed verses.

I guess my fear is not so much what would happen to me, but what would happen to those I've left behind.