I’ve been thinking about death lately due to knowing many who died this past year. I counted at least seven deaths that I shared with my FB friends ranging from a 7 month old to a 70+ year old! The most recent one is my best friend’s husband. This past Sunday afternoon my phone rang and I saw it was my friend. I had sent her a text on Wednesday wishing her a happy birthday. She had replied back thanking me and asked me to call her when I was able. We were talking earlier in the week and she had to quickly get off the phone due to her husband calling her. I thought about calling her a couple times over the next few days, but never did, so when I saw she was calling, I felt a little guilty for not having called her. I answered my phone with a cheerful, “Hey, belated birthday girl!” I soon realized she wasn’t calling just to chat. I did find it unusual that she was calling me on a Sunday because I knew weekends were spent enjoying her family. She proceeded to inform me that her husband had died on Friday of a massive heart attack! My immediate response was to gasp and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing her say to me. She filled me in a little as to what happened and I told her I wanted to come and see her right then. She told me to come later that evening because she was about to leave to go pick out flowers.
As I write, it is now 3:33 a.m., early Tuesday morning, the day my precious friend lays her “rock”, as she referred to him, to rest later this morning! I’ve prayed that she would have good rest as she faces this difficult day with her family. As I sat with her for an hour and a half on Sunday evening, I found myself reminiscing about my brother Barry’s death which was thirty years ago this past January 6th! I also shared with her about the recent home going of baby Serenity who was a day shy of being seven months old. We talked about many different things and I did my best to be there for her and to console her broken, aching heart. I share these thoughts knowing that we will all face death one day, whether through the loss of a loved one or we ourselves. There’s no way around death…it is something we must ponder and be ready for because as Hebrews 9:27 tells us, it’s appointed for man to die once, then after death comes judgment.
We are all born in sin. We all fall short of God’s glory, no one is righteous, not even one! (Rom. 3:9-18, 23) The first created beings, Adam and Eve, were placed in the Garden of Eden and given all things to enjoy yet with one prohibition: they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…if they did, they would die, not just physically, but spiritually. (Gen. 2:15-17) This is why we are all born in sin, because man broke God’s command and ate of the tree from which they were forbidden to eat. (Gen. 3:1-7) It’s interesting to read this passage realizing that Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed until they sinned…once they ate the forbidden fruit, we read their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths to cover themselves. This is the result of sin, shame and guilt. We want to run and hide and cover up our sin. Because of one man’s sin, that being Adam’s, death was the result and was spread to all mankind! (Rom. 5:12) Because of their sin of disobedience, they broke fellowship with God and something/someone had to die to cleanse them from their sin.
The next step was facing their Creator God. They had always enjoyed sweet fellowship with God any time they wanted, but now they were hiding from Him among the trees in the Garden. We learn that as God was walking along in the Garden, He asked Adam where he was and not Eve because Adam was her head. It was Eve who was tempted by the serpent, Satan, and she gave the forbidden fruit to her husband who was right there with her. Adam’s reply to God was that he was hiding because he was afraid, and was naked, so he hid himself. (Gen. 3:8-11) God asked him how he knew he was naked and if he had eaten of the tree from which he was commanded not to eat…(ponder the reason as to the cause for realizing he was naked)…his sin was found out! (Num. 32:23) This is where we read about the first sacrifice/death of an animal…God made for Adam and Eve garments of skin and clothed them… he covered their nakedness of sin which they had exposed themselves to by eating from the forbidden tree. As we continue reading God’s holy and inerrant Word, we quickly learn and come to understand the reasons for the many sacrifices the children of Israel (Jews) had to make every day as an atonement for their sins. All these sacrifices pointed forward to the One final sacrifice that was to come, namely, Jesus…He would be the perfect sacrifice to save us from our sins and to tear down the wall that was put between us and God because of our sin (Eph. 2:1-16)…Christ’s death on the cross allows us to come boldly before the throne of grace and to have direct access to and fellowship with God once again! (Heb. 4:14-16) What amazing grace!