Memorial Day Reflections
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I visited Dad’s grave a few weeks ago, thinking of the heritage he had given his family and of the realities of life and death. Dad has been gone 14 years now. A few months before he died, I was hospitalized. The doctors removed a malignant tumor and my right kidney. I have recovered and am in good health. But three months later, without really being ill, Dad died.
Death is something the living have to deal with. We face our own mortality and the loss of those we love. Special times like Memorial Day help us remember those who have died and contemplate again the brevity of life. Perhaps you and your family are facing questions such as, How can we receive God’s comfort? Why do some suffer a living death with diseases such as Alzheimer’s? How can we help our children face the harsh reality of death?
Because there are so many imponderables about death, we tend to shy away from discussing it. The unknown terrifies us. But when we analyze it, it is not death we fear as much as what comes after death. Our only true source of information about that is in the Scriptures: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, KJV). The judgment follows death, just as surely as night follows day. Romans 6:23 offers a ray of hope: “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God has made it possible for a favorable verdict to be rendered in your case. He sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins and the sins of the world. By believing in Him and accepting Him as your Savior, you can face the judgment knowing your sins have been forgiven and you are ready for heaven.
We still confront the reality of death. Yet even here we have a fantastic hope: One generation of Christians will not die. The apostle Paul wrote: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed … Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:51-55, KJV).
1 Thessalonians 4:17 explains how the dead in Christ will rise first. Paul assured us: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
With that kind of future ahead of us, we don’t have to fear death or what follows it. In fact, the Savior promised: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3, KJV).
So we live life to the full, enjoying the creation God has placed here for us, living as His stewards, and knowing whether we live or die, we will be with Him eternally.