It’s almost time for me to say “Thank you” to Heavenly Papa for allowing me to see another year. Yes, indeedy…it’s almost my birthday!!! Every time I think about this time, it makes me happy that at one point in time Heavenly Papa decided that he needed me on this earth for a purpose. I strive to become closer to finding out what that purpose is on a daily basis, but gratitude and perseverance are not the only things that my birthday reminds me of. I’m also forced to think about all those that I know will not be seeing their birthdays this year, and it softens my heart to be reminded of the beauty of death.
Many people think of death as the worst thing that can happen, but after spending some time in the word, I’ve noticed that great things happen when one dies, and that there are two types of death. The first being a spiritual death in living form, and the second being a physical death when your body returns to its natural state and your renewed spirit goes to rest with our Heavenly Papa.
The first death is to be “in Christ, [to become] a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In order for us to become one with the Holy Father we must first take part in our living death. This is the shedding of our old self to become closer to God. Essentially, it is our awakening period when we are pushed out of our wilderness. Some may argue that when this happens, you’re not allowed to “have fun.” There is still lots of fun to be had, you’re just now being held accountable for your actions.
In Jay Z’s song, Empire State of Mind, he states, “and Jesus can’t save you, life starts when the church ends,” which to me implies that you are not living unless living in sin. I used to be a part of that world. I would go out every weekend, get wasted with my friends, hang out with random guys, living care free and reckless, not caring too much about myself or how the world perceived me, or how my actions impacted others. Not realizing my choices had consequences. Thinking back, there were plenty of times when the choices I made could have gotten me raped, killed, put in jail, turned me into some type of addict, but they did not and I have to attribute that to being protected by the grace of God. Even though I was rejecting him at the time, he saw fit to save me over and over and over again, and finally, I got it. Then I decided it was time for me to walk upright for the man who “died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). When I made this decision, great things began happening for me. I became less anxious and learned to roll with whatever punches life threw my way and I found myself at a greater peace. Also, so called friends that brought great stress began to fade away. Best thing ever. It became easier for me to make decisions to do good and while I’m still fumbling through trying to figure it all out, I’m grateful that I’m nowhere near where I was. I’m also proud to say that while I am a sinner, I’m doing the best that I can to be prepared for my physical death.
There are also great things to be said about your actual physical death. Although, I clearly have not experienced it, the word tells us, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13). I believe this to be true because I’ve witnessed it in my waking life. Have you ever attended the memorial service of a righteous person? The atmosphere is completely different from that of a not so righteous one. People are rejoicing and seem much more content because they know that the person they are mourning is now at peace with Heavenly Papa. Those people are also comforted by the Holy Spirit, regardless to whether they know it or not. Matthew 5:4 attests to that. At the other, we have great lament and the mourners appear to have a harder time letting go.
One must also take into account the beauty that surrounds a physical death. The death in itself brings people together. You’re reminded of the innocence of children and are appreciative for their laughter. It is a time of remembrance and the person’s story gets to be told time and time again. Time becomes valued again as the realization that it is limited sinks in and teaches us to value the time we do have and those that we have to share it with. In a nutshell, death brings about community, which is essentially what living is all about.