Monday, March 2

Life happened......

"Anything which comes from God is able to overcome the world: and the power by which we have overcome the world is our faith." 1 John 5:4 (BBE)

Life happened this Sunday evening.

Life is its' most distruptive, sorrowed and chaotic way brought several of us journeyers together in the stark, quietly busy enivronment of Annapolis Hospital in the evening yesterday.

My ex-wife called to say that she had received the call, that call from the hospital that you never hope to get but know in the passage of time that it will come. The Doctors had done all that they could do in regards her father and recommended that he be put into a 'safety and comfort' status, so that his final days would be free from pain and discomfort. He lost the battle against the host of health issues that he's fought most of his life, but more intensely in the last three months. It was time to gather, to say goodbye and let him move into his eternal reward.

No longer were the issues of possible cancer, the amputation of his right leg below the knee or the big toe on the left foot. No longer was the infection of primary concern; nor the effects of its ravashing of this man's body. No longer were his respiratory or diabetes an issue. No longer his heart...nothing no longer was the issue....

The battle upon this world and its desire to fell the righteous was over for this warrior; who had bravely marched under the command and order of his LORD and King these many years.

Tripping and falling, surely as is the wont and fate of any of us broken and sinful human beings. But standing more often than not upon the battlefield's front lines in the battle between Good and Evil; an inspiration and comfort to those who came alongside him.

His battle fought, the scars of a long effort upon the front lines etched upon the mortal flesh; his LORD called him from the battle, saying that it was time to pass on the sword of righteousness, the shield of love and the breastplate of Truth and come home.

To those of us; Carol, Betty Jo, Ed, Tammie and the grandchildren, who bore this warrior from the lines of fierce fighting for the souls of the lost, the disheartened and the weak, did so with sadness and sorrow for he was a father, a grandfather and a friend.

But far from the front lines and the din of the ongoing battle, we were able to speak the words of goodbye and Godspeed to the hearing ears and echoing voice of this warrior. To account in our words the deeds; both mighty and small, fruitful and destructive, Godly or manly. And know in each of the children of this great warrior, a piece of him would continue.

Life happened this Sunday evening.

But it won't end there; not for those left with all-too-familiar sorrow at the passing of a loved one. No, for amid the darkness of death's approaching, there stood silent testimony to the power of the One who overcame its' power. The new life promised shone as a beacon to those who had accepted Him as their LORD.

As I travelled home from the hospital last night, bearing this warrior's grandchild home to carry on with the life that we have left to live upon this earth, though absent of a loved one held so dear who's departure is counted now in days rather than years, I reflected upon the life we've shared, him and I, and how God has moved within its pages; writing the story of this epic with His own hands.

Where once, for the same purposes and passions, we once stood in opposition and battled against each other for the benefit of those loved ones we both shared and how life moved in destructive ways upon the landscape of our journey, wounding and scarring us both. And how blessed and honored I was, in these latter years, to fight alongside him in love and brotherhood for the common salvation of all those loved ones.

Maybe not always in agreement, but always with the love taught and bore by the LORD and Savior of our lives.

It struck me, in the echoing background of moving tires, bright lights, and the drone of the highway traffic, that all of us is the result of Adam and Eve's original sin and the deviation of mankind from the purposes and plans of the Creator who fashioned and breathed life into our bodies.

There is no way to cheat the due of the "Grim Reaper." It is the fate of all who breathe a breath upon the reality of this world.

Some of us, though, are fortunate enough to die twice.

In our spiritual death, where we die to ourselves and the world subjecting ourselves and our will to that of the Father, we find the One who has gone before the "Grim Reaper" and left him empty-handed and find life abundantly. For, to those who have discovered the hope of eternal life in the gift of salvation bought by the sacrifice of Christ, what other kind of life can we truly have, except abundant?

Gone is the assurance of death's completiness, replaced by the confidence of God's promised gift of eternity, free from the brokenness of this world's suffering and sorrows!

Jack's reward, his graduation if you will, from this world is a moment of joyful celebration and jealous envy for he will be with the Savior seated with the saints who gone on before, to await the time that the Father only knows to return in victory with our LORD and King.

What would not bring such a celebration upon the attaining of a Christian life's goal?

But, for those of us who are left behind; the loss of his smile, his love and even his gruffiness are those things to which our sorrow is expressed and felt. But, even in that sorrow is the assurance that it can only be temporary...for God promises us that as well.

Today, as I step back out upon the battlefield of this fallen world; girthed in the belt, breastplate, helmet, sword and shield of the Most High King, my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.....I paused for a moment and looked to the sky, in its beginning daily progression of overcoming the darkness of the passing night.

I feel my Father's hands upon my head, speaking the blessings of the day to which He knows I will need and will make good use of. He accepts my hopes for my son, my daughter and all those to whom I have been blessed to be given to love. He gives me the assurance of the request for those I don't know yet, to whom I pray my life will speak of the Father's love and His promised hope. And He promises to be with those who are burdened with sorrow anew as He gathers His son Jack, and all the other saints whom have recieved the waited call home, into His arms to wait the coming victory and establishment of God's Kingdom.

I have to smile a bit bigger today....for I know that I will stand before the Throne on that day and hear the name of my brother called from the Book of Life as he is rewarded for his good and faithful service. Another victory today for the LORD my God from the enemy is etched into the granite of God's promise.

For Jack Small was dead to the world years ago, born anew from the Father God into a new man. And all things that come from God overcome the world and our victory of triumph over sin's wages lie within our faith in Jesus Christ, our LORD.

Makes us indestructible, don't it?

Today, as I stepped off the front porch of my home and began my journey into this thing called life, such thoughts captured my mind and lifted my heart in the midst of the sorrow.

In Jesus, we are the Chosen people, part of the royal priesthood and offered a place at the King's table for the victory banquet that will be coming when Christ returns to this world and brings defeat to the enemy, establishing His kingdom upon the creation borne from His Father's hand.......

But until then, the harvest is full though the workers are few;

As you step out into the world today, girthed with the armor of the LORD, take a moment to remember who's you are and remember His promise:

Press forward -- swinging the sword of righteousness and truth with the assurance of knowing who you are in Him, and giving true service to the Great Commission today as you step into the darkness of this sinful,broken world among the loss, the broken, the sinful and the victorious.

We cannot chose the manner in which we depart this world, but we can chose the manner in which our lives are lived upon this world.

For the eternal hope which is assured and the coming of our KING!

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