Death delivers many lessons. Clarity is injected—even force fed—into your heart and mind. I learned a vital life-lesson from death that lifted my eyes to the nations.
“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2
As Solomon stated concerning death and funerals, “…the living will lay it to heart.” The death of those we love changes our living. If we take it to heart. As I have been thrust into dealing with the multitude of ramifications of Kim’s death, I have faced death, and it has changed the way I face life. It’s difficult to fully explain all that you experience and learn. But it’s true, I am laying it to heart.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
As difficult and painful as Kim’s death has been for me, I’ve learned my experience is only one among so many. And I mourn with hope. How self-centered do we have to be to not notice all those who have lost loved ones around us? Loss is rampant; it’s everywhere.
I had an overwhelming realization of rampant unbearable pain as I jogged through Arlington Cemetery one day as I was visiting Trevor. Grave after grave of men and women buried due to tragic and sudden loss. Reminder after reminder of the prevalence of death and loss. I stopped jogging, and I doubled over in exponential pain. I began to cry when I realized some of the families of those represented by the numerous graves around me mourned with hope, but some mourned without hope.
“O that Thy name may be sounded afar over earth and sea…” Frances Bevan, Hymns of Ter Steegan and Others
Then later, I learned of a statistic that on average about 155,473 people die every day without Christ across the globe. Don’t read that sentence too quickly. Let it sink into your soul.
Kim’s death, while tragic, is in the context of the redemptive story of God’s grace. It’s a hope-filled story even in loss. But, what about the nameless unreached and unloved? Death and loss teach those of us left on earth to lay it to heart as Ecclesiastes 7 reminds us. If I am broken over the loss of my bride, am I broken over the 155,473 who are dying daily without eternal hope? Jesus showed compassion, but do we express concern with our lives and resources?
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
Jesus takes the thief head on and delivers life and abundant life to overwhelm and overcome the Enemy’s killing, stealing, and destroying ways.
So, Kim’s death and funeral come with a reminder. Death is a ramification of the Fall of Man. It is always a reminder of loss and a thief. However, Jesus gives life as the answer to the thief’s deceptive temptations and promises.
Lay it to heart.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
He’s given life to Kim, to those of us she’s left behind her, and to anyone who calls on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13). So, death is a reminder that we have work to do. If we still draw breath, we can join ranks, cooperate together, and address the 155,473 people dying every day without Christ, without hope.
Let’s embrace death’s reminder and work while it is still day. Every singular day that passes spills 155,473 people without Christ into eternity. To that end, let’s pray, give, go, and send together (here’s one place to invest).
“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4
“Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!” Nahum 1:15
“All his saints from all the ages, every clime and tongue, all together now we worship in a faultless song.” Frances Bevan, Hymns of Ter Steegan and Others