Friday, May 19, 2006

Living Despite the Presence of Death

Our enemy has returned, but the Victory is not his! Praise God for His Salvation! Another family member has passed over the threshold of death and entered into the Glory of heaven and come into the presence of God, our Saviour. Eternal healing for her is complete! All glory be given to the God of Grace!
To bring everyone up to date; one of my wife's brothers, Glen, passed away about a year and a half ago due to an agressive brain tumor; I mentioned it in a post here. I also mentioned in that post that his wife, Dawn, had just been diagnosed with a different form of brain cancer that was inoperable. Dawn made the decision not to seek any other therapy, but to take the time left that was allowed her by God that she could be with family and friends as much as her health would concede. This gift of time has been a blessing for all concerned, yet also a bittersweet time considering the inevitable outcome in human terms. Though we glory in the victory she has been given over death by Christ, we still grieve the loss of her presence from our lives.
As I posted earlier, we all have to deal with death, for it is the normal end of life for each one of us. How do we then live with that end of life approaching? Death seems so much of a defeat that looms before us, mocking all we accomplish or possess. I believe some of us attempt to just ignore death and just grab all we can now, while others have an excessive focus on death in their life which inhibits living well; there ought to be a balance.
With the reality of the physical nature of life and death we must consider the spiritual aspect. I wrote in the aforementioned post of my struggle with death on a human level within a Christian context. We see death manifested daily, it is a reality; within that reality we need to live and experience life. So we try to live life as if we can defy, or deny, death's reality; which is impossible. Recently, in my meditations, the teachings of Christ have confirmed to me that our view of life is backwards, that the spiritual aspect of life teaches us to be looking from the point of death back towards life.
Therefore, I propose that our physical living is enhanced by accepting death's inevitablity and allowing that realization to awaken us to real living in the physical sense by the power of the spiritual life available to us in Christ. I believe this is exactly what Jesus was instructing us in the concept of dying to self; of living as dead already, yet alive with the indwelling presence of God's Spirit. Thus, seeking to save our life, by cramming in as much of the material essence of life as we can, is to actually loose that life, for death swallows all the material gain we accumulate. By receiving life through Christ, by the presence of God's Spirit, we are enabled to look beyond the material and truly live in an eternal sense in this present material life but apart from its demands, and realize that death is just a portal through which we pass as our life continues eternally in Christ.
Christ lived among mankind for 30+ years with the actuality of His death having already happened. Christ was "offered up" in the beginning, at the creation, for the sins of man in the plan of God's salvation. We need to learn to live in the same manner, as dead to the flesh yet alive in the Spirit; only then shall we truly understand life in all its real richness and meaning and truly live despite the presence of death.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58 KJV)