Before I get into this week’s thought, I need to pause and thank all of you for your prayers, comments, comfort, and encouragement as my family has dealt with the loss of my sister Becky. I continue to be amazed at the impact her life had on so many people. God has answered so many prayers throughout this time. She passed away around 10:15pm on Thursday, May 18th with her husband by her side. This was a special blessing in and of itself because her husband works third shift but had decided to stay home after Becky had a bad episode that morning. That was how God worked it out so that he was home when she passed. God is so gracious and He continued to answer prayers leading up to and throughout her funeral as we decided we needed to livestream video to the church fellowship hall because we knew we wouldn’t fit everyone into the relatively small church sanctuary. We weren’t sure exactly how that was going to work, but God pulled it off. He also kept some severe storms away and even the heavy rain away until after the funeral itself was over.
I had been meaning to share here a story from a few weeks ago about how God sometimes speaks very directly to you in a situation. A couple of weeks before Becky’s death and a very short time after we were told that she had very little time left to live, I was scheduled to lead worship on Sunday morning. The week leading up to that Sunday had been a difficult one – learning about Becky’s condition, trying to get a lot of affairs in order before she passed away, and just dealing with the emotional weight of it all. That particular Sunday morning I woke up to a text message from my drummer apologizing that he was very sick and was not going to be able to make it. This led to a scramble (even before my morning coffee!) to try and figure out what to do for a replacement. Once a plan was in place, I sat down for my morning quiet time and bible reading (once I had gotten that first cup.)
There is already a lot that goes on in my mind as I prepare to lead on Sunday mornings and with the early morning excitement and Becky’s situation, I found it hard to quiet myself enough to be still while I opened my Bible. I have been following a reading plan this year to read through the whole Bible and this year’s plan has an Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalm reading each day. I like to start in the Psalms so I turned to the assigned passage, Psalm 116, and began to read. When I got to verse 15, I had to stop and read it a couple more times. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
This was God telling me, “Hey – Becky’s situation is very important to me. Her death is precious to me. I am right there with all of you.” Something “precious” is something that has great value to you or means a lot to you. Sometimes I think we feel like we aren’t being good Christians if we get too sad over death because we know that the person is in heaven and we will see them again. And that’s true and good. But there is still an enormous sense of loss here, especially when the Lord takes one as young as Becky. This verse tells us, though, that God does not take death lightly even though he is master over it and knows that he is taking his child to be at home with him in paradise. God considers and treats that transition as precious to him. He understands and cares about the dying also.
That was more than enough to give me the comfort and peace I needed to get through that Sunday of leading. And that verse came back to me many more times in the weeks to come as we said goodbye to my sister. God speaks to us through his Word. Becky was precious to him and her death was precious to him as well.