Death and glory by Mike Betts

Mike Betts on Lowestoft Beach

I found my late Father’s grave this week. Over the last couple of years I found an urge, not present before, to locate it and visit it.

I was seven when he died and for probably well intentioned reasons was kept away from the funeral. Life has just gone on since then and although I have thought often about him, his grave never really featured. I am sure these facts would provide psychologists with hours of analysis of me!

We are all dysfunctional in a variety of ways. When we become Christians the Holy Spirit begins his wonderful work of restoring us and renovating us into Christ’s likeness with ever increasing glory.

Whether we grew up in an almost idyllic setting or whether our lives have been complicated stories, the wonder of knowing Christ is that he is perfectly capable, willing and able to unthread the tangled ball of wool our life can sometimes be. Not only can he unravel it from the knots, he can make something beautiful from it.

We all share in death …
Anyway – back to death! I think keeping children away from the reality of death is a huge mistake. It happens a lot though. A nursery teacher I know told me she was instructed by her superiors to tell young children observing a dead butterfly that it was ‘sleeping’, as to say it was dead would distress the children. Well consider little Johnny that night when told to go to bed and that he also needs to ‘go to sleep’! How to mess a child up in the head quickly! How ridiculous are our attempts to remove death from life. It is the one thing we are all certain to share as a common experience.

Now before you all conclude ‘he sounds depressed’ – I’m not. I am actually happy. I was happy I found my late Father’s grave and that his last words to my Mum were ‘I will see you in glory’. His grave inscription reads ‘At rest’. He is. The amazing thing is that one day he and I will have the chance to catch up on a lifetime of mine he missed.

… But it’s not the end
For the Christian death is not an enemy any more. Glory awaits unfading, unimaginable perfection and unhindered clear communication between us and Father God. Now we see in part, we hear in part, we know in part. What we have in fragments is enough to whet the appetite, but then how remarkable it will be to be in the renewed heavens and renewed earth where it somehow all merges. Just like a seed becomes a flower and in doing so becomes something way beyond the glory one would imagine coming from such a small black speck so the earth and heavens will outshine even our wildest dreams.

Life still matters
Life here is precious and not to be wasted. It matters. We are not to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. But neither should we live without a robust and focused attention on the main event that this life is just a prelude for. Only in Christ can this future be accessed. Without him as Saviour the Bible says our future is unimaginable horror.

Let us who are Christians and saved by Christ never lose sight of the ultimate prize and hope to which we are called: eternal life through Christ as a gift accessed through faith in his finished work on the cross.


1 comment

    • Martin on 2 February, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Mike, thanks for refreshing in me the hope that I have, for the eternity getting to know my son (as well as the other joys in store).

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