A trip to the country on a bright, sunny day was a perfect time for a visit. It was months since I visited the old church nestled down a rugged, dusty road. And it was here, on this day, when I visited the place where my dad was laid to rest.
While my husband waited in the car with our girls, I slowly made my way through a white gate. Then, standing still and sobbing quietly, I read the words engraved on his tombstone. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty," (Psalm 91:1, NIV).
Truly he is.
My dad is resting in the presence of the Lord.
I have no doubts. My dad, who taught me the love of the Lord at an early age was a true follower of Christ. When disease began overtaking him, I had a peace of where his death would take him.
I remember the last day I spoke to him. While at his bedside, I said, “You're going to be with Jesus soon. I'm going to miss you Dad, but you will be with Jesus soon.” He gave no response with his words, they had mostly left him weeks before, but his gaze spoke everything. Maybe that's why he let go hours later. My Dad knew death was only the beginning of eternity. His body would be healed, no more suffering, and instantly, he would be in the presence of God.
I remember looking at him that day, as he lay in bed. On the outside, he was ill, but he was alive with a living hope that not even death could take away.
He was more alive to me than some people I see everyday.
People, multitudes of people, walk around me each day. Some in life but others in darkness. The enemy has stolen and destroyed the life God gave them. They wake up, day after day, only to wrestle through the pains of brokenness. On the outside, they may look alive, but if you glance into their eyes, you will see there is no abundant life. There is no hope for eternal life. They spend their days in the moment.
But because of Christ's resurrection, death no longer has the final say.
It didn't for my Dad. Neither does it have to be for those living in darkness. In John 10:10 (NIV) Jesus said, “'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'”
This week, as we prepare for Easter, we will study about Christ's death and resurrection. Please consider joining in the study even if you haven't followed along in previous weeks. To download the reading guide, please click here. If you'd like to read more about my testimony and how I became a Christian, you can click here. Let's begin by reading a few verses from Monday's passage.
"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'" Matthew 26:26-28, NIV
As you read these verses, consider the following questions:
1) With the Old Testament sacrifices in mind, (from the past two week's studies), why is this passage so significant?
2) By partaking of the Lord's supper, what are we ultimately confirming by our actions?
Photo: Nick Scheerbart