“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.” (Job 14:1-2)
As I pen these words tonight, my heart is both happy and hurting, full of anticipation and dread. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a baby boy, the first child for a sweet, young couple in our church family. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he should make his arrival into this world in the next few hours. In the very same hospital, a family who lives some four hours away is clinging to every vestige of hope for their husband, father, grandfather, and friend. A great man of God is fighting for his life, and the outlook is very bleak. It is altogether possible that one will enter this life while the other passes from this life within the same short span of time. Buddhism teaches that we should weep when a child is born and rejoice when someone dies. We commonly view childbirth as an occasion of great joy, while death is something to be dreaded, feared, and lamented over. In a Biblical sense, both birth and death should be looked upon with joy and hope. Think of the births we find in Scripture–Issac, Samuel, John the Baptist, Jesus (this is but a sampling). Their births brought great joy to those who were anticipating it. Their families were fill with hope over what this child might do and be in this world. Think also of the deaths we find recorded in Scripture. From a purely human perspective, these were occasions of great sorrow and sadness, filled with tears and heartache. But, from God’s perspective death is a release from the struggles of this life, a call to come home to our Father. In his eyes the death of his child is precious (Psa.116:15) and gain (Phil.1:21). We can face this circle of life in one of two ways: we can either be born twice so that we only die once, or we can be born once and die twice. We did not choose how or when we would come into this world, but we can choose how we will leave it! Let’s choose to leave this world as a faithful child of God.
“Dear Father, we know that you are the Creator of life. We know that you are the Sustainer of life. We trust your will for our lives as we face that moment when time for us here is no more. Thank you for life, but more than simply allowing us to live in this world, thank you for the life we have in Jesus, and the great hope we have of life eternal because of him. Through the name of the risen Savior we pray. Amen.”