This Is Gain

Permit me a moment to myself, please. You see one year ago today, my family lost a dear person and heaven gained one.

The preacher in Ecclesiastes tells us there is time to be born and a time to die.  A bit pessimistic sounding but undeniably true. Such a cruel tease this life is. When we are young the sky is the limit, isn’t it?

We believe all things will somehow work out for a wonderful life. Then disease hits and takes away our dreams. The vision of a long life with succeeding  generations rising up behind us blurs and fades. The unthinkable becomes reality and we simply want the touch of a loved one. A brief conversation with a close friend would make a day, or even a week. To know we are thought of and prayed for sets the soul in flight until the ravages of the disease once again grounds the spirit.

This is not how it is supposed to happen. Life is always being interrupted by death. This is rude and unbecoming to us. To be cheated of years we protest is unfair and illogical. Surely, the Divine is mistaken?

Oh, He is not, we are. Eternity has been set in our hearts and we instinctively know what has been created in us is not meant for such a short duration as this life. Our longing is real, our understanding is just clouded sometimes. We want to extend this imperfect life at the expense of putting off the perfect one to come. We are hard pressed between the two. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For me, to live is Christ, but to die is gain.” This is the hope of the Christian; to live is one life, to die is a better one.

Faith demands we long for the next life but the flesh does not want to let go of this one. Perhaps it is because it is all we know. The familiar has a way of seeming sanctified even when it is seriously flawed. But we must let go of this one in order to gain the next one. We must trust wholly in the symbol of death’s destruction, the cross, where the Perfect died for the imperfect that the imperfect might gain perfection for all eternity.

And we must let go of ones we love, knowing full well that if they have Christ they have the perfect life now. There is a time to be born, a time to die and a time to live forever. This is gain to the ones we love, even if we miss them dearly.

~Written in tribute to my mother-in-law Susan Griffith

2 thoughts on “This Is Gain

  1. Amen Pastor Hurlbut! The older I get and the more I see of the reality of sin and death in the world around me, the more I cling to the precious hope that we were created for something so much better! Praying for your family as they look back at God’s goodness and trust His goodness on the road ahead!

  2. Thank you Pastor for continuing to push on through life and the hope of what is to come. I struggle with the reality of death. Not the eternal reward of Heaven but the “valley of the shadow’ that we must all travel to get there. With each real-life situation that touches people I care about, I learn more and more of how God will truly use any and all circumstances to turn our eyes toward Him. Thinking and praying for your family as you continue to live without your moms here on earth while feeling the current pain of illness in your family today.

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