Death is shocking. No matter if it is sudden or there has been some warning. Death is still shocking. When someone has been such a big part of your life and they are no longer there to share experiences, it is heart and mind and soul devastating.  We lost a dear one this week and there is a hole the size of China in our hearts. And as far as I can tell it doesn't matter how many years go by, we still miss the ones we love as if they passed on just a few days ago.

This is one of the reasons I'm convinced there is eternity. The fact that I can still feel something about someone who is no longer here cements in my soul that this is not all there is. If we were just a species that ceased existing after so many years, why would the ability to feel the loss of another being after they pass on, be such an intrinsic part of our makeup? I am again reminded of a passage in Ted Dekker's Book The Martyrs Song, (one of Paul’s favorite books) where some renegade soldiers were terrorizing a small village, particularly those congregants of the village church. They wanted even the children to deny Christ, and beat them & made them carry heavy wooden crosses, including beautiful little Ivena, and the madmen brutally beat Brother Michael and made all watch in horror.   

"When Father Michael looked up, his eyes met Ivena’s as she trudged under her cross. They were bright and sorrowful at once. She seemed to understand something but he could not know what. Perhaps she, too, had heard the song. Either way, he smiled, somehow less afraid than he had been just a minute ago.

Because he KNEW something now.

He knew there were two worlds in motion here.

He knew that behind the skin of this world, there was another. And in that world a man was singing, and the children were laughing. ….

“….Christ lives. He is not dead...” the priest told the soldier. Father Michael drew a deep breath. “Christ lives in me, sir. His spirit rages through my body. I feel it now. I can hear it. The only reason that you can’t hear it is because your eyes and ears are clogged by this world. But there’s another world at work here. It’s Christ’s kingdom, and it bristles with his power.”

I am also reminded by the words of Jesus in John 14: ͞Let not your heart be troubled: Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.͟ John 14:1-3 ASV

And, ͞O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?͟ 1 Cor 15:55 KJV

Paul Cowell knew this! Christ lives! He makes all the difference in how we see life and how we handle life. Sickness is the same for all of us, unkindness is experienced by all of us, fear is experienced by all of us, pain is the same for all of us, growing old is the same for all of us, rejection is the same for all of us, trauma is the same for us all, exhaustion is the same for all of us, uncertainty is the same for us all, death is the same for us all...whether it is natural, sudden or cruel. But if we know that Christ lives, that His Kingdom is real, and that it is just a step beyond the veil, then in the midst of the pain, and the despair, and the exhaustion, and the agony that can sometimes be life, we can have HOPE. We know that there is more than what we are experiencing in the here and now, another Force, our everlasting Source, the Lord God Almighty, at work and we can face whatever is thrown in our face, no matter how frail our outward aging human body is or how dark things are all around us.  Paul would tell us to have Faith, trust Him (or get to know Him if you don't) and keep Hope in your heart! 

By: Valerie May