Even as I celebrate my father’s life on his one-year death anniversary, I’d like to share with you three thoughts that came to me as I reflected on his life and death over the past eleven months. These are being shared for two reasons. First and foremost, they serve as a reminder of God’s goodness. Second, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, I want to give you hope, comfort, and assurance. [Pic: My late father and three years old me watching road races in the year 1984]
Put Your House in Order
My father came dangerously close to death in 1997. He was involved in a car accident that necessitated brain surgery. He heard the Spirit of God instruct him to “put his house in order” because he was going to die while lying in the hospital bed. Nevertheless, my father prayed for his recovery not because he was afraid of dying, but because he understood how much we needed him as a young family. Then he had an encounter of a lifetime with God. God spoke to him through the book of 2 Kings chapter 3, promising him divine healing and additional fifteen years of life.
He died four months before his seventieth birthday, eighteen years after that encounter. From a human perspective, it was a premature death, but not from God’s perspective. My father’s amazing encounter with God indicates that God had set aside a certain time for him to be born and to die. When the time arrived, he came to this world, and when the time came, he left this world to be with his creator.
You may be mourning the tragic death of a loved one today, even as COVID 19 claims lives around the world. Nonetheless, I want you to know that there is no such thing as a timely or untimely death in God’s view. Every death occurs on his timetable, and we can rejoice in the knowledge that our loved ones who walked united with God in life are now united with God in their death.
Go in Peace
On the night of September 14th, 2020, we admitted my father to the hospital. Despite our prayers for a miracle, he died five days later in his sleep. My sister, who was at the hospital with him, told me that our father was in no agony and passed away peacefully. When she mentioned peace, I knew it was the miracle God had bestowed on us, in accordance with the woman in the gospel of Mark chapter 5 to whom Jesus said, “Go in peace”.
Contrary to popular assumption, it’s not only a painless death that I mean by a peaceful death — my father’s older brother was a believer who died as a result of COVID 19 complications. I believe my father died in peace because he was at peace with both God and men. That is the most supreme miracle of all. It supersedes faith healings, exorcisms, control over nature and even bringing the deceased back to life. You see there are earthly realities and heavenly realities. In earthly reality, even if someone you loved happened to die from cancer, coronavirus, martyrdom (or you name it…) they have died in peace if they had lived at peace with both God and man. The opposite is also true. In earthly reality, although a man could die in peace, in heavenly reality he has not died a peaceful death at all if he hadn’t reconciled with God and man.
Today, I’d like to encourage you to live in peace with both God and man. You do it by forgiving those who have wronged you and seeking forgiveness from God for your sins by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins. (Feel free to drop me an email if you doubt your position in life with regards to God and man.) If you do that, you will be ready to leave this world when the time comes and you will be gone in peace.
This is My beloved Son
You can call me a “mystic” but I can’t help but tell you about how the Lord demonstrated his love for my father as we buried him. The weather was dreary and windy on the day of the burial. It didn’t take a meteorologist to figure out that a storm was on its way. We opened the coffin for one last glance before lowering it into the grave. Then a miracle happened. The sky opened, enabling the sun’s beams to shine through on my father.
It reminded me of what happened at Jesus’ baptism in the gospel of Matthew chapter 3 verse 17. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” God seemed to say as he glanced down at my father. My colleague Dinesh who was present at the cemetery took the below photograph of the sun shining through the clouds. The sun hid its face as soon as we finished the burial, and the storm arrived in full force.
COVID 19 has claimed 7,948 lives in Sri Lanka and 215,201,121 lives worldwide as of this writing. Perhaps someone you cared about is also among the dead, and you were unable to give them a decent burial (in certain countries including Sri Lanka bodies are cremated). It doesn’t matter how unfortunate their deaths may seem to you. The heavenly reality is completely different from the earthly reality. It is much stronger than the earthly reality. The heavenly reality is that God is looking down at them and saying, while their beautiful souls are resting at his feet, “This is My beloved Son or my beloved daughter in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!”
As I conclude this post, I want you to know that not even death is able to separate us from God’s love for us through Jesus Christ (Let alone COVID 19). Death is temporary, but God and his love for you are eternal. That’s why I know I’ll see my father and my uncle again one day. I’m looking forward to that day with eagerness and excitement. I urge you to do the same. For our, God is good absolutely. He is good all the time.
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