To Die is Gain, even in Our Pain
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the worst and longest day of my life. The day my daughter, Hannah Elizabeth Diaso graduated, or as we like to say she moved to heaven.
When I think about it, I suppose it was the worst and the best day of Hannah’s life. Her last day on earth wasn’t a good day for her or for us. Yet she was immediately ushered to heaven where she saw Jesus face to face.
The Lord has been comforting me and reminding me this week of his true and amazing promises. I don’t think I could make it without his loving care and assurances.
Just as I began to write this he reminded me of Paul’s statement regarding life and death.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 ESV
It’s an amazing statement, but if we are honest, this is not the way most of us live. Death is a wake-up call. Dawn and I think about death differently now that Hannah moved to heaven. It’s caused us to think of heaven more frequently, and wonder what it is like there. Hannah went from suffering to experiencing pure joy in just a moment. It’s so hard to comprehend!
My Hate for Death!
Through my sweet daughter’s graduation to heaven, I’ve had to come to grips with death. It’s not an easy thing to do. I believe it’s a long process that I’m still going through in many ways.
I hate death and its effect on man. I never realized how horrible death was until my daughter died. God created the world without death. When man fell into sin death was waiting right at the doorstep. Ever since then all of creation has been groaning for the day of redemption.
I’m thankful for the life I’ve been given, but I long for redemption. I look for glimpses of my Heavenly Father’s redeeming love every day. When I see someone healed, or someone receive the gift of eternal life I believe this gives me a glimpse of redemption.
Again Paul gives us words of hope as we wait.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as son, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:18-23 ESV emphasis mine
Our loving Papa is at work as we suffer in this world. He brings redemption and he gives us hope as we wait.
A Desire to Encourage Others
Both Dawn and I love to minister. We enjoy encouraging others and seeing them set free of whatever may be holding them back. Often our friends will make a comment to us that we’ve been able to encourage them and lift them up in the midst of our pain and mourning. I think at times they are surprised that we’ve been able to stay upright and maintain a positive attitude.
We do have our difficult and down days, but it encourages us as we love on and minister to others. We’ve seen a lot of grace during these moments. Part of the mystery is the grace flows two ways as we extend God’s goodness to others. It goes out to those we minister to, but it also comes back to us.
I must say that I believe everyone in my immediate family, Dawn, David jr., Jonathan and me have all grown deeper in our love for the Lord. It’s not because there is anything special about us. When you are hurting, you realize that you need to run into the loving arms of your Father. It’s a place of comfort and nourishment. Once you’ve tasted of his love you want more and more. O Lord, bring it on!
More of the Lord’s Loving Encouragement
I found it interesting in my normal daily Bible reading this week, that the Lord had me read Psalm 116 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Amazing passages!
“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:1,2 & 16 ESV
I still don’t fully understand death, and God’s ways, but I’m glad to know that the Lord does have it figured out. He has a plan for life and death. He even says that our days our numbered. At times all we can do is trust in his loving kindness. That’s what I choose to do.
From the moment Hannah moved to heaven one of the most helpful comforting verses in the Bible has been 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Often when I share my faith with nonbelievers I tell them that we are sad, but we have hope. The hope of heaven, the hope of redemption, the hope of a Savior sustains us. It takes away the sting of death. Christ conquered the grave.
“…what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14 MSG
I thank the Lord for the work of Jesus through his death and resurrection. Because he conquered the grave we have hope!
I hate that our daughter is no longer with us physically on this earth, but I’m grateful for the promises. I’m grateful for the hope of the gospel. I will continue to love and serve with Dawn longing for and looking for glimpses of God’s redeeming love until the day of redemption. Then I will be reunited with Christ, Hannah and all the saints that have gone before me.
Thank you, Papa, for your loving care! Hannah, I look forward to seeing you again soon!
In His grip, Dave