sting of death.

"o death, where is your victory? o death, where is your sting?" [1 corinthians 15:55]

my grandfather, affectionately known in my family as "poppy", passed away this morning. we have known this would be coming for awhile now...he has suffered from dementia for a couple years, and over the past few months his quality of life has not been very good. he had to go into the hospital about 2 weeks ago, and then last week they decided to put him on hospice. so i feel like my grandmother, and my mom, and her 2 brothers, all got to say goodbye to him, and prepare themselves for today.
but this is really the first death that my family has had to deal with...and i'm not quite sure how to do it.

as a believer in Jesus, and His promises, i can rest on the truth that we are "more than conquerors" [romans 8:37] and that God "gives us victory" [1 corinthians 15:57] and "He will swallow up death forever and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces..." [isaiah 25:8] but of course that doesn't take away the pain of loss.

i'm realizing the emphasis we all put on life here on earth...and how easily we forget that it all fades. "all flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. the grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass, the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever" [isaiah 40:6-8] the only thing that stands forever is the Word - God's TRUTH, God's LOVE, God's PLAN, God's PURPOSE...it will endure. but all we have and all we own and all we work for...even our very flesh...it withers and fades.

poppy was a brilliant heart surgeon, a brave WWII naval doctor, a skilled fisherman, and a loving husband, father, and grandfather...but in his last days he could barely even move or talk. all those gifts had withered away. as my grandmother held his hand tight, he opened his eyes for one last time, looked at her, squeezed her hand, and drew his last breath. his life here on earth had faded completely.

my prayer is that we may put our hope in heaven...that this life is NOT the end, but rather, just the beginning. my prayer is that poppy is experiencing the glory of heaven - no more pain, no more tears, no more suffering.

may the sting of death be overcome by the sweet victory of eternal life.


across the street, across the ocean.

my friend autumn and i are praying about going over to africa for a month in the spring - possibly uganda, kenya, ethiopia, and/or sudan. we realize we are both in a place where we CAN go...we WANT to go...so why wouldn't we?? we are just praying for God to show us how/when/where. it has been so amazing to realize our shared compassion and vision and heart for our neighbors over there. we watched an incredible documentary last night - God Grew Tired of Us - about the lost boys of sudan...and it really got us thinking and dreaming about how we can love our african neighbors here in nashville, too. there are so many refugees here in the states, struggling to adjust to a completely different way of life, while keeping their own culture and identity.

as Jesus taught us in Luke 10 - we prove to be a good neighbor as we show mercy, and have compassion.

may we be good neighbors, loving others as we love ourselves, no matter where we are, no mater where we go.

some amazing african resources:
bbc | africa
african leadership
mocha club
hope in the dark photography book