Facing Death… and facing death…


Featured imageDevotional Thought of the Day:
19  Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.” 20  “Are you going to build it again in three days?” they asked him. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple!” 21  But the temple Jesus was speaking about was his body. 22  So when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said. John 2:19-22 (TEV)

The span of Sarah’s life was one hundred and twenty-seven years. 2 She died in Kiriath-arba—now Hebron—in the land of Canaan, and Abraham proceeded to mourn and weep for her.  Gen 23:1–2

179         Days of silence and of intense grace… Prayer face to face with God… I broke out into thanksgiving, on seeing those people, mature in years and experience, who opened out to the touch of grace. They responded like children, eagerly grasping the chance to convert their lives, even now, into something useful… which would make up for all the times they have gone astray and for all their lost opportunities. Recalling that scene, I put it to you: do not neglect your struggle in the interior life.

They aren’t the devotional readings you want to come up the day someone takes a long needle, places it in your carotid veins, and checks out your heart from the inside.  There these readings the readings in red were,   The procedure they told me, had less than 1% serious complications, but if you know me, that’s not good odds.  I would prefer them in the region of .0000001% chance.

But here I was, waiting impatiently for the procedure to began.  I had signed the paperwork saying who had the power to make decisions for me if I didn’t come out of the sedation, papers authorizing blood transfusions, and, of course, the paperwork saying I understood that such medical procedures are risky and that I wouldn’t sue if I died.  (How could I? But that isn’t where your mind goes…)

For the first time in 10 major surgeries in my life, I was afraid going into the surgical suite/cath lab, I didn’t like that feeling at all.  I have sat by many during such times, I have been there myself before, but the fear this time… I started to plan my own funeral- but who would I tell?

I was sure I was facing death, and yet… I survived.

So now what?

I’ve had people tell me before that such events change people.  But then again, a motorcycle accident, a cardiac arrest, a surgery to replace two heart valves, all that didn’t change me that much, except to prepare me for ministry.  Okay, to prepare me for a very unique and different ministry.

But what would come out of this very dark, very anxiety-laden time?  Why didn’t God come and quiet my soul, like He had some many times?  Why couldn’t I, a guy who teaches people how to minister to others in such times, find the peace I had led so many others too?

It’s funny, in that emptiness, in that moment where they “sealed” my body to the surgery table with some super form of saran wrap, ( My anxiety helped me  wonder if they were pre-fitting me for a body-bag!) in that lack of peace, in those moments in that lack of anything, I was sure it didn’t matter. If I went home to God, the sins that concerned me would be covered.  If I stayed, there was a final to take, sermons to grade, blogs to write.  But those things didn’t exist at that moment when they put a drape over my head so the surgeon could do his job….

there was nothing…

and because there was nothing… there was the proof of God.

Again, I couldn’t point to any feeling, matter of fact they led me down other roads.  My knowledge as a pastor failed me.

But that doesn’t mean God did.  If God is God, then in those moments I sense nothing, in those moments where I can’t depend on logic, or emotion, He has to be there, beyond me.  If we die, we are with Him, if we don’t, He will draw us closer to Him, strengthening us so we can bring others along on the journey.

I have often wondered why Jesus, who was, is, and will be God had to face His own… well, mortality, so often. Why God would go there so often, almost as if he was fixated on it.

Because it wasn’t just His death He faced.  It was all our death.  The death of sin.

He did that, so we could face the emptiness of death.. the barrenness of the moment of facing it.

So that in our baptism, our leaving this life will become meaningless.

For no matter what, whether our mind can process it or not, whether our emotions can cope with it… ultimately we are in His hands.

Nothing else matters…

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 957-963). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on November 7, 2015, in Devotionals and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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