It is Fall once again up on Rocky Top. The leaves are raining shades of yellow, orange and red as they fall from the trees. It’s a beautiful sight to behold as they float down on the wind. Ironically, the beauty comes from dying. The leaves are falling because they are dead.
Fall is a bittersweet time of year.
Today I listened to my beautiful, middle child spill her soul as she shared about her baby in heaven.
She told the story to a group of mommies. With gentle tears rolling down her face she remembered how she had put her hope in being a mommy only to find out that hope was no longer alive. I remember holding her after she got the news………..no heartbeat, no life. We all grieved. Someone had died and we had been robbed of ever knowing this tiny human.
Yet, there was my brave girl standing in front of those women sharing about how death had taught her to put her hope only in Jesus. My momma’s heart was proud of her courage. She told the story of death on the birthday of her now 3 year old daughter, Addison Faith. Death had occurred in the Fall. Life had also been born in the Fall.
Years ago driving down the road, I received a phone call about death on a fall day. Daddy had died in his bed, a massive heart attack. Daddy didn’t come to know the God of Hope until he was 58. His journey to Christ came at a price. He died to himself. Died to selfishness. Died to a never ending stream of bad marriages. From age 58 to 68, that man truly lived. He lived to bring his new Father glory. With his new heart, he loved big and well. When I arrived at his apartment after receiving that phone call, it was covered up with his new life: pictures of grandchildren, his Bible, and the book The Prayer of Jabez.
That was a very hard fall. Yet, there was HOPE. I knew my daddy had really died when he was 58 and he was now fully alive with His Savior.
True, real life requires death. Sometimes the death is more painful than others. Nonetheless, death is hard.
A lady tapped me on the shoulder. “Do you have a few minutes?” she asked. Me, I never have a few minutes. My schedule can be my never ending god if I let it. “Sure.” I said. Then death came.
“I really need to ask your forgiveness. God, told me to come talk to you. I have said bad things about you to others. I’m so very sorry. Will you forgive me?” Tears were welling up in her eyes. She was brave.
Time to die to myself. Time to make a choice of letting my pride and anger take over or die to myself and let Jesus live in me. I asked a few more questions to understand the situation.
I had hurt her unintentionally. I cried. I apologized. We prayed. Life came. I thanked her for being real and vulnerable. I wished I had thanked her for dying to herself.
Fall is also the time of year, that we, as a church focus on people around the world who do not know our Savior. Millions of men, women and children have never heard the name of Jesus. To be blunt, millions who will spend eternity in hell. We don’t like to talk about that. It is uncomfortable.
Our body of believers built a tent in the middle of our church building. The Prayer Tent. As I walked through the tent, His voice was clear: Die to yourself.
“Christ hasn’t called us to live for Him: He has called us to die, so that He might live through us.” Beth
“It’s not me trying but me dying.” Watchman Nee
Millions of people will never hear His precious name, know His intimate love, experience His mighty power, or spend eternity with Him unless WE die!
Die to our selfishness. Die to our comfort. Die to our greed. Die to our fear.
To live in His abundance. To live in His adventure. To live in His POWER. To live in His confident joy.
Lord, thank You for the Fall. It is a visible reminder that death brings true LIFE and HOPE! And if I choose to die to myself and live in You then one day I will stand with Jesus, my grandbaby, my daddy, a brave sister in Christ and millions of others whose faces I may never meet till I meet you, and there will be no more death, no more dying. Just You in all your beauty and HOPE!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” I Peter 1:3-4