Fill in the blank. If you’ve heard this uttered once, you’ve heard it a million times. Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I’m sure the internet was full of sentiment such as this. I’m not heartless. I too would love to visit with my grand folks again. Oh, the things we could talk about now that I’m older and less ignorant and silly… But I cannot. My mother-in-law died a very short time after my wife and I were married. That’s been over 20 years now. Oh, the conversations we’d have if she were still here…
I have a tendency to get a tad emotional over mortality. Not in the sense of raw pain or even the sorrow that all too often accompanies suffering. Rather, my selfishness over them not being with me any longer. That part of the circle of life I don’t do well. I fully admit this is a very self-centered and even narcissistic view to take. I’m not particularly proud of this, but none-the-less it is true of me.
Thankfully my hypocrisy has boundaries. I usually only contend with this sentimental hurdle for a short time before I grasp the truth. …And the truth is, that person may very well be set free of pain, anguish, despair, and the shackles of this side of heaven. While not every person I know will ascend, it continues to be my prayer they all do otherwise.
I think this is one of the core tenants of my faith. Knowing that I have been reborn in Christ and committed myself to Him indicates to me that I can, in fact, join Him in the Kingdom above when I’m called. Knowing this, why is it I get sideways over the death of others? Again, I can only describe it as selfishness on my part. I think that’s pretty normal for some folks. I know a thing or two about this existence, in this place, at this time. I have an idea what heaven might be like, but I don’t know much beyond that. I think it is purely human nature to default to what we know, which translates into comfort. Thus we gravitate towards the here and now, and concentrate less on the realm of heaven.
This is where my salvation comes into play. And frankly, how has God worked on my salvation today? Better yet, and more appropriately, how have I worked on my salvation today? His acts are that of Grace. Mine are basic responsibilities and I fall short far too often. Yet, I know what they are and they are within my small sphere of influence to control.
I’m then lead to arrive at a very crucial and simple understanding. Instead of getting flummoxed over the temporary loss of a friend or loved one, why don’t I concentrate on salvation instead? Both mine and theirs? If the statement is made, “Oh, what I would do for another day with my _______,” you and I should be saying, without shame, hesitation, or remorse by the way, “Rather than another day, you’ll enjoy eternity with your ______ if you’re both saved unto Him. How can I help with your salvation?”
I think too many people will find that response simplistic or even crass and arrogant. Yet it is none of those things. Sure, they miss the significant person that inspires such a statement. I occasionally feel the same. But I know where I’m going and want to see them there too. If I can help somebody enter the right side of that equation, I’ll be tickled. Truly tickled. After all, God hands us the keys to the car and tells us to go do exactly that. He even includes a thorough driving manual, if we bother to read it.
So the next time you hear from someone a statement that fits with the subject matter today, offer them something of eternal significance to ponder rather than that of temporal significance. Isn’t there a way to transmogrify that yearning into something worthy of all time? Only when we speak and carry ourselves in this manner will we break down the pop culture barriers that make a response like ours seem insensitive, when we know it is actually hypersensitive.
Dear Lord, may I see you all on the other side. This is my prayer.