Why do I not see how painful dying really is?
I think about those around me, the ones who seem to be treading water for days, in a constant struggle to keep head above water, the choking and sputtering of trying to catch another breath and the immediate threat of suffocation. I want to toss out a life vest, give some oxygen so they don't succumb to the fury and the torrent of the waves . And when the dying involves ME, my treading water about to drown, I struggle and strive and fight. Oh how I wish I could tell you I give in to the pain, that I allow my body to relax into the struggle so I am carried along in a relaxed posture to the next place. No, my prayers seem to always be, "make it stop God". Because MY way is NOT the dying first way. My desire for comfort and ease dictates that this life be trouble/pain free and not so difficult to manage. My American Dream way of the Gospel, the safe, pain free, pass the next proverbial pill to alleviate the discomfort is not the true kingdom way of Jesus.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:24And then I'm reminded of the ugly beautiful way of the cross. The tight grip I have on MY way begins to release as my soul breathes in this truth and I exhale remembering the mother of God and how she watched her son die. I can barely bring myself to watch the Passion of the Christ without turning away. The agony and pain portrayed seems excruciating to watch as a reproduction and I can not even imagine what it was to behold first-hand. But Mary, she was there, a ring-side seat to see her son as he struggled for life, probably not understanding what this suffering meant. Thinking for sure this torture she was watching meant certain death and the end for her son.
Unlike Mary, I live on the other side of the cross. Light has been given and I somewhat understand the mystery of the cross, this upside down way of Jesus Kingdom and how we are to live. But still I try to avoid the death to which I am called! I am forever an amnesiac when it comes to the way of the Kingdom...forgetting that life comes when I die, that the poor are truly rich, the last will be first...I forget all those things as I live apart from the Gospel I profess to believe.
By God's kind grace today, I remember and chose to believe there is beauty crafted in the mess, that dying is not the end. I can REST in knowing that God is accomplishing something bigger, other worldly even. He's bringing LIFE out of death and producing something more glorious and wonderful than I could ever imagine. I can rest because God is in charge, He is making all things new and He is faithful to complete what He begins. He calls me to live in hard places with brokenness and mess within and all around and He delights in the right now, even when I only have eyes for the finished product!!
So very thankful for the Spirit bringing light to the dark places in my heart. Apart from His work, I would remain in bondage to fear and doubt and would never see the beauty in the messes along the way as He brings his kingdom to earth in me and all around me.