Almost four decades of studying the Scriptures, sitting under sound preaching, when looking death in the eye, how fluent am I?
I spend time reading Scripture, and sit under sound preaching. I write about the life-changing power that scripture has been in my life. That doesn’t always mean I can speak it. Especially in the face of death!
Unfortunately, just this week I was tongue tied, as words from the Scriptures played hide and seek in my brain, garbling what I wanted to say.
I hate that! I can see the verse – I know the words – but they dance around, concealing one portion and then another. What was I trying to say that did not come out sensibly?
Here’s how the frustrating game of me seeking words that kept hiding unfolded.
My friend’s mother is dying from complications of a head injury and a stroke. She brought her mom home to die, and asked for visitors.
The family made a space in the lovely living room, placing a bed in the center, so neighbors, family, and friends could visit. I was glad I went. But the enormity of the reality scattered my words.
And maybe that was the point.
At the chasm that God established between life and death, watching a soul return to her Maker, maybe keeping my mouth shut was smart? I wanted to read the Scriptures, or sing hymns. But, I did not bring my Bible, or my hymnal.
So, while listening to others, and looking at the stilled body of one who was once vigorous, creative, and apparently a force to be reckoned with, I kept saying silently, I’m praying for you.
Our final breath is as momentous as our first. * What do you say to one who stands on the edge of life as we know it, about to enter into life we can only imagine?
Leaving, I wanted to say the words to a benediction I have heard all my life:
24 “‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26
I tried – but I felt the words scatter. I think what I finally whispered was Christ is waiting for you. That much I am surely fluent in!
And at the end of the day – that’s my only hope: Christ is waiting for me, and you, dear reader. It is a message worth mastering.