Saturday, April 07, 2007

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya

I am still up, but almost ready for bed. This will be a quiet Easter. Most of the time we celebrate by having others over, it's nice to just hang out. But Den will be working through the afternoon, and I really don't want to fuss.

Most of the time, people choose to "celebrate Spring" not neccessarily Jesus rising from the dead at Easter time. Here in Michigan, it is perpetually snowing right now. The cold has terminated my lovely white tulips and daffodils in the front yard. My crown imperial fritillary was about to bloom, the first time in the last four years since I've planted it. It was going to be lovely.

They'll be back next year.

At Thursday's church service, I was thinking about dying. I was thinking about what I'd be thinking about when I was about to die. How would I deploy my brain cells to their last mission on earth, if I had time to do so. Would I be too overwhelmed with fear to pray what I'd want to pray? I'm thinking that I need to ask God now to help me through those final moments. There have been a few moments in my life when it looked like it might be the end. My thoughts usually were, wow, this might be the end. I didn't have any fear, except for an adrenaline rush. Nor did I have any last great prayer beseeching God either. Usually, it seemed like a surprise.

And why should I be surprised?

I've been thinking about death a lot since I started to read "From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya" a book about missionaries. Most of them died early. A lot of them died as martyrs. All of them suffered. Some survived long enough to see all of what they had worked for destroyed, commonly by war or political agendas. Some labored all their lives and never saw any fruitfulness among the people they served. Very few were what we'd call successful.

What I learned from Ruth Tucker's biographies is that when you give your live to serve the Lord overseas to do as He desires, it is never what you'd expect. As I look out at my frozen flowers slumped over in their beds, I'm reminded that death comes whenever. I'm in just as much in control as those iced tulips. We, as Amy Carmichael said, are all given "a chance to die".

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