Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sun tan . . .

This is part of a song I wrote years ago, both music and lyrics. It has yet to be completed, since I only have one ‘stanza’.

Live everyday,
like it may be your last
You can mold the future,
but you can’t change your past
Your yesterdays,
they are all gone,
but tomorrow,
is yet to come

The grave is not the end
It’s just a doorway,
to the other side
The grave is not the end
It’s just a doorway,
to Christ

This song is a reflection of how I have had to grapple with my own personal 'mortality' and the eventual, sudden exchange of all that I have known with something, well, something that I have never known. Death. I believe part of the walk of a Christian, or at least for this Christian, is the eventual replacement of fear and doubt of the unknown, with Faith and Trust in the One to be known. Notice I did not use the term religion. We are talking about the person of Christ. It takes time to put complete trust in a God whom cannot be seen, heard or touched - yet. For it is we that must learn His ways, not the other way around. It is as if we have been suddenly 'blinded' and 'crippled' by faith (like the Apostle Paul was on the road to Damascus, struck from his horse) and then we must ‘un-learn’ the way we used to think and process spiritual information and then ‘re-learn’ things from God’s perspective – re-learn God’s ways, ways which were lost as a result of the ‘fall of Man’ in the Garden. Isaiah says it so eloquently:

Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way and
the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD,
and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

His ways are higher
than our natural ways and His thoughts are higher than our natural thoughts. We who have come to believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, and claim to be “born-again”, as Jesus put it, are still living and breathing, weak and human full of faults – just as susceptible to fear and doubt as the next non-believer. There are now many differences in the two, one of which is that we have made a covenant with the One Who Himself has conquered death, hell and the grave through the Resurrection and have now by faith opened a doorway to Christ – and another is that we are now in a different ‘position’ to receive the Son.

An example of this would be lying out to get a sun tan. You can lay out all day long under the shade of the board walk and tell all of your friends that you ‘laid out all day’ – you know what they are going to say? Where’s the tan man? You were not in the right ‘position’ to receive the sun’s rays! You wasted your whole day, as far as getting a sun tan goes, thinking you were getting something which you were in fact not getting.

I don’t want anyone to be deceived and miss all that God has for them in this life and yet so many go about their day putting off the inevitable. No, you cannot change your past, but you can mold your future. You just have to make up your mind and follow Christ and the two of you can mold your future - but you must let go and let Him take of your past. Forgiveness is one of His many specialties. It will probably not be easy, but then, anything lasting usually does have a price tag that comes with it. Especially something that is this ever-lasting.

Read in the Book of John, chapter 10 about the Good Shepherd who is willing to put himself in danger to protect the flock.
The Good Shepherd will also put the 99 other sheep on hold to go and look for that one straying sheep in order to bring it back into the fold.
Matthew 18:12-13
12 "What do you think?
If a man owns a hundred sheep,
and one of them wanders away,
will he not leave the ninety-nine
on the hills and go to look for
the one that wandered off?
13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth,
he is happier about that one sheep than
about the ninety-nine
that did not wander off.

You want to make God and all of heaven happy? You want to 'turn-off' the fear of death and the grave? Turn to Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and all of heaven and it's inhabitants will rejoice and God's peace will be yours abundantly.

Good weekend to you and yours. George


Judith said...

Dear George,
Danny and I have been keeping up with you and your struggle with cancer through your thoughts, ideas, prayers, hopes, and struggles on your blog.
Thank you for being so transparent and honest.

I was glad to read about your reflections today on the difficult idea of death. I'm glad you shared the lyrics of a song you started years ago, especially:

"The grave is not the end
It’s just a doorway,
to the other side
The grave is not the end
It’s just a doorway,
to Christ"

I have been thinking about this a lot too because of the sudden death of my dear friend, Gabby. It was the day after her 29th birthday and she was on her way to a retreat in Florida, when she died in a one car traffic accident. I had seen her the two days before. She was so alive. This girl was full of the Lord. She talked about Jesus all the time. All she wanted was to fulfill God's purpose for her life. All she wanted was Jesus.

Gabby is not dead at all. She is probably more alive than we are - in heaven - with Jesus. The loss to us, who loved her, feels nearly unbearable. We weren't ready at all for her to go. But in my heart of hearts, I believe that the Lord was ready for her to really be with Him-completely.

One day we are all going to take that last journey to be with the Lord-completely. I believe that this life, in some way, is just a preparation to living there.

You are so right in saying that part of the process is the "eventual replacement of fear and doubt of the unknown, with Faith and Trust in the One to be known." Knowing and loving Gabby and being so close to her when God took her to be with Him is really helping me to replace fear and saddness associated with death with hope and trust. This has been a very hard lesson.

You have been walking so close to that line too. I appreciate you addressing this today in your blog. This can help all of this deal with death - an eventual event for each of us and those we love. One day we will really understand.

Gabby was a demonstrative Christian - a dancer in worship. I know she's worshipping God freely today. Her death is teaching me more about hope, and the afterlife-the real life. The Lord is helping me in my(temporary) loss and grief.

This has been close to my heart since Gabby died last month.
I wanted to share this with you too.
God is good.
Jesus loves us.

Ruth said...

Your song is beautiful, George, and your post is even better. Everything you said is great. I love the suntan analogy.

Ruth Burton