Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Extreme Family

1 Corinthians 15:55

The woman was one month away from graduating from Bible school along with her daughter. It was the same Bible school where her son, Stenley, had gone before he went to another Indonesian island as a missionary. Stenley was killed for carrying the gospel, but his testimony had prompted many others to go to Bible school and to accept God’s call to share his love.

When they had completed their training, the woman and her daughter planned to go to the very village where Stenley had died. She hoped for a chance to show Christ’s love, even to the men who had beaten her son to death. A visitor to the Bible school, hearing of her plans, was surprised. “Are you not afraid to die?” he asked her.

The woman seemed confused by the question, as if it was not something she had thought of before. “Why should I be afraid to die?” she answered simply.

Her faith in God’s goodness was complete. If he chose to use her in the village where her son died, so be it. And if he permitted her to die there, she would accept that call as well. Her death would bring her into the presence of the Christ she loved. Death was not an obstacle or a punishment, merely a doorway into the eternal presence of God.

Facing death can remind us of children standing above the edge of a water hole. We hug our own shoulders tightly to our bodies, shivering with the anticipation of the unknown. Will it hurt? Will I make it? We don’t want to be the first to jump—not with all these uncertainties. Fortunately, we don’t have to. History is full of family members who have leaped across the boundary between life and death. They are saints who died in full assurance of their destination. Jesus Christ, in fact, has gone where no other person has gone before—to death and back again. Christ, the head of our Christian family, has taken the terror out of death and replaced it with assurance. Heed the call to come on in. The water’s fine.

Readings taken from
Extreme Devotion: The Voice of the Martyrs


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