A good friend died yesterday totally unexpected. He had just gone to the doctor and they declared him in good health, but then he died of a heart attack. It was quick, one of those heart attacks where the person probably goes almost instantly. I called him a good friend though I really didn’t know him very well. He came to church faithfully with his wife and he almost always made a point of taking the time to talk to me after the service and tell me how good the service was and how much he loved Jesus and how much he wanted to please Him. He regularly would write me a letter, and share all the changes that had taken place in his life over the last couple of years because of my influence. He was one of those guys who after you visited with him for ten minutes you felt like singing or whistling or dancing, whatever you feel like doing when you are feeling really happy. He was a happy guy and made those around him feel happy, at least he did me.
Probably nothing tests a person’s faith as much as death does. By test, I mean, what do we really believe without a hint of doubt. It seems that at the point of someone’s death is when all the questions pop into my head. When someone dies that you really like and love, and it is one day he is here on earth and the next he isn’t. Then the thoughts come; where is he? What is he feeling? What is he seeing and hearing? What is his new body like? Does he see and hear me? Maybe when we die we just turn to dirt, and there are no memories, no awareness, nothing. What if all this Christian, Bible, Church stuff is just so much pretending, fairy tales, brain washing as kids by our parents. That doesn’t seem reasonable to me. I think that the sense of eternity that is in me is more than just having been programed as a kid growing up. Yep, it is all true. I know it. If it is I will live like it is.
How I live, that is probably the greater test of my faith. Do I believe what I believe with enough faith and passion that everything I do is impacted. How I talk to people. My pursuit of holiness. My values. What makes me happy. How quickly I forgive others. What I spend my money on. I believe that Jesus is God, that He became flesh, that He lived a perfect sinless life, that He was crucified on a cross and that while He hung on that cross all my sin was put on Him and He paid the price, He was punished in my place, I believe that He died, was buried and rose from the dead three days later and that I am going to live with Him forever. I do believe.