by Rev Douglas Brauner
Living with the promise of eternal life.
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“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.”
Psalm 116:15 New International Version
My flowers are dead. They were thriving one day, and the next they were dead. A heavy frost killed them. There’s no resurrection, no hope, and no future for these flowers. They’re stone cold dead.
There’s still evidence that they were alive at one time. The colors have not completely dissipated. The flowers still stand upright as they had when they were in full bloom. There is still beauty even in death.
I find the words of the psalmist some of the most difficult to understand. I find no beauty in death. From my pets to my friends to my relatives, I detest death. I hate what it does to people. I hate how it destroys the beauty of God’s hand formed creatures. I hate how it returns us to dust.
How can our death be precious in the sight of our covenant God?
It might help for us to remember that we’re responsible for the advent of death, not God. God created us to live. We chose death. The key to understanding the psalmist words is where he puts his emphasis. The death of people in general is not precious to God, but the death of his “faithful servants” is.
Through the One who suffered the utter agony of death, and separation from his Father, we have been declared to be God’s “faithful servants.” Because of his death, our death is precious in the sight of God. It cannot separate us from him. Earlier in the psalm the artist wrote,
“For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.”
Psalm 116:8 New International Version
The promise of eternal life, of walking “before the Lord in the land of the living,” makes the death of God’s faithful servants precious in his sight.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado