Sunday, March 05, 2006

Celebration of Life

You give and take away You give and take away My heart will choose to say Lord, blessed be Your name I will bless Your name”

I was blessed by this chorus tonight. I was at a celebration of life service for a friend of mine. Jim lost his battle with cancer on March 2. He lost his life here on earth but he won a new life in Heaven. The service was amazing. I dreaded going. I have a fear of death. I am not afraid of dying. I am just afraid of losing someone that I love. This fear has been so real for me these last few months. My heart was in agony thinking about having to confront my fear of losing someone, while watching my dear friends’ morn their loss. I am sad that Jim is not here any more. I had just begun to get to know him a bit. But, many people I know were close to him. It is hard to grieve. I was expecting to feel just awful all day, especially after the service. I was caught off-guard by the memorial service. The service began with a praise team leading worship. The congregation was asked to sing along. I thought, ‘I cannot do that.” As I started to sing, my tears started to pour. After just moments, though, I was filled with love. I was filled with peace. It was amazing. I was able to praise God for life… for Jim’s life… and for the life he has given us all. Pastor Tanner shared about King David and how when his son was dying he fasted and prayed. He refused to eat or drink or do anything but plead for his son. When his son died, he went to the temple to worship God. As I listened, I found another chorus of that song echoing in my ears:
Every blessing You pour out I'll Turn back to praise And when the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name

I left the service with a little bit of a drive back to my house. As I drove, I reflected on what I gained from the celebration of Jim’s life. God has blessed us so much. Our life is a gift. Everything that happens can be turned back to praise. Even death cannot hold back God. God has already conquered death for us in Christ. I was reminded of the most precious blessing of all—God’s gift of eternal life. I came away from the memorial service much happier and more blessed than when I came. It was a blessing to me. So God was able to bless me and others through Jim’s life and death. What an amazing testimony from his life and from his friends and family!

No comments: