“A time to be born and a time to die…” – Ecc 3:2
I am not sure if it is an Oklahoma thing or a southern thing or maybe all over the world thing but in the mornings I love to sit on the porch and have coffee. I remember doing this with my grandmother at every lake house that has been in the family. She would give me “granny” coffee, which was basically milk, sugar, and just enough coffee to make it tan in my blue “tippee” cup.
Now that I am adult I try and make time for devotions in the morning that include much stronger coffee, ½ and ½, and as of late a little maple syrup. You know, because it is unrefined sugar.
I was recently sitting on my screened in porch in the early morning thinking on the Lord and life, surrounded by plants planted in my grandmother’s memory, when I began to contemplate what I would want to be remembered for, if I knew I only had short time to live.
The first two thoughts that came to mind was:
1.) That I did something to make a Kingdom difference, and that my life mattered.
2.) That I loved my family well.
That is what I would want to know in my heart and soul in my final moments. To me, that would result in “resting in peace.” That is finishing well.
In December, we conceived our first baby girl and I am coming to the end of nine months of anticipating the arrival of new life. There has been so much preparation and yet so much still to be done. But in the midst of the unknown and even the fear there is joy and hope. There is new life. There is anticipation. There is “a time to be born.”
During this same time I have watched others from a distance that are at the other end of the spectrum and have only been given months left to live.
Life is so fragile. This experience has made me think on how we handle and process life’s deadlines as Believers.
Nine months until new life appears.
___ months until eternal life begins.
There is something about a spoken life deadline that jolts us into a painful reality. But ultimately aren’t we all living with a deadline even if it remains unspoken or undeclared to our human ears? Known or unknown the deadline exists.
And yet this deadline haunts us so much more so, when we have been verbally sentenced by circumstance and someone in a white coat…
This begs the question of is it possible to view death here on earth with some form of hope and joy in the midst of the fear and the questions?
Death results in the passing away for all of those who are left behind, but for the one going ahead…are they not being born into eternal life and born into Heaven if they know Yeshua?
Labor is a painful transition.
Death is a painful transition.
How do we discipline our hearts and minds to view them as seasons in God’s hands that we can trust Him with?
We have to trust Him with our seasons.
“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance…”
-Ecc 3:1-4 (NKJV)
Seasons. Changes. Transitions.
They say that the most difficult part of labor is actually called the “transition period” which marks a shift for the mother in the second stage of labor. But God knows we need His grace and this is often the shortest phase. We just have to hang in there and trust God in the moment.
The bottom line is that transition is uncomfortable—no matter how we look at it.
I am counting the days and weeks until Baby M’s arrival but in my heart she transitioned from heaven, to my womb, and soon to my arms. And someday we all make this journey back again; from the arms of our loved ones, to the arms of our King and back to Heaven once again.
Life is a circle; a beautiful and painful circle. And yet in the midst I know that Jesus meets me wherever in the circle I happen to be—even when I cannot find Him…He finds me.
As painful and as impossible as it seems as Believers we are challenged to trust God with our circle and with every transition but especially with our final transition. We have to trust Him with the timing and the way. The labor of death, it is truly this labor that takes us into our third birth.
Born into eternity.
The circle complete.
The promise fulfilled.
“O Death, where is your sting…” -1 Corinthians 15:55 (NKJV)