I am thankful for death today, and the promise it holds for those of us who have accepted the grace offered to us by Christ. Not one of us is promised tomorrow, or even a next breath. However, those of us who have accepted God's gift have a hope and a joy that counteracts the sadness of death. We know that waiting for us is something more glorious than we can even comprehend in this life. I was reminded of this today, as I sat behind an elderly couple that sometimes comes to our church. The man seems so very frail, and has obviously had a stroke or some other debilitation that limits his speech and movement. As we sang the first two praise and worship songs during the service, he and his wife sat quietly. But as the lyrics to Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine" began, I felt tears begin to fall from my eyes. Not because of the sentiment of the song, but because this man was singing along. He obviously knew the tune, and it surprised me.
I don't really know the man I'm writing about - I can't remember his name. I do know that he used to be a pastor, and people speak glowingly of his godly teaching. I know that he and his wife recently lost their adult daughter. It seems to me as if he is nearing the end of his life. As we sang the song, I couldn't help but wonder what the words must mean to this man. A lifetime of serving God, studying the Word, and all the things he's seen - and knowing it will come to an end fairly soon. Does his heart leap up at the prospect of dancing for Jesus? Does he ponder the thought of seeing God in all of His glory? I did not get the feeling that this man fears death - but rather, that he may just be a little excited about it. The hope, the promise of the rest of eternity, spent doing the only thing that will matter to us any more - praising our Creator.