Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Yesterday, I attended a funeral for a older gentlemen who passed away suddenly. I barely knew him. He and his wife had recently come to the church and were just beginning to find their places of service. In fact, he had taught a Bible Study class on Sunday, felt bad, and had a stroke on the way to the hospital. He never recovered. I went to the service to support my mom who had taken the death hard.
His service was a celebration.
I cried my eyes out throughout the service.
As always, God used the experience to show me the depth of His love. One of the things that was presented as part of the service was the Andrew Lloyd Webber song, "Love Changes Everything." One line kept resonating for me: "Love changes everything, how you LIVE and how you DIE." I've been through so many funerals recently that God used the song and the grief to remind me of three things.
First, I cried my eyes out because the service was in the same room that my dad's funeral was in 1982. I haven't been in that room since his service (he was only 55 when he died) and I wasn't expecting the overwhelming grief that I felt for him. It came out of nowhere. I was reminded again the depth of God's love for us. The deep love that we have for a lost parent or child or friend can only make sense when considered through the lens of God's love for us. Because He loves, we can love. Because He loves us deeply, passionately, eternally, we, too, are able to experience that type of love. I love my daddy, and the love doesn't diminish through time. Neither does God's love for us. No wonder heaven will be so full of love.
Second, as I considered how much I could still grieve anew over the death of my dad, I couldn't help but think of the grief the Father felt when He had to watch the agony of humiliation and the pain of death as His Son died on a cross. I know God planned from the beginning of time for His Son to fulfill His promises to us. I don't think the knowing lessened the Father's grief and agony as He watched His Son suffer physically and spiritually as He took on the sins of the world. The more I understand the depth of God's love, the more I realize the depth of the Father's grief during that horrible day when Jesus suffered and died.
Third, I went to the service to support my mom. My mom and step-dad are best friends with the man who died and his wife. They have been best friends for the past 13 years and have traveled extensively together. What I didn't know until the night before the service was that this man's grandsons were members of my youth group when I served as a youth minister. Isn't it amazing when God shows us that as disciples, we're all connected. We're like heavy chain links that are soddered together with the Father's love and the Son's sacrifice into an unbreakable safety chain. We're all connected. Maybe that is the way that we can most feel the love of the Father and the Son and the Spirit.
Love changes everything . . . how we live and how we die.