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Death

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting?–Part 6

The Sting of Death is Absence.

There are four large oak trees growing on the property of the Jacksonville Church of Christ that were planted some seventy-five years ago by my father. The trees are a reminder to me that there was a day when a very young version of my Dad went with my Uncle Clifford Smith to bargain for some land on which to build a new meeting house for the Jacksonville church. One day, just a few months later, Dad went to get some oak saplings from his brother to plant on the newly-purchased land. The trunks of the oaks are places where children play hide and seek today and the branches provide ample shade around the building and the accompanying fellowship hall. They are a reminder that the plants have outlived the planter. 

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then it’s no wonder that children remember all the good times so readily when a parent leaves them behind, because suddenly life is saturated with the absence of that beloved mentor. That’s just one more aspect of death’s sting. This week I’ve been wading through lots of pots and pans, piles of old photos, heavy pieces of furniture, books, bedding, blue Mason jars and other various piles and containers from house, barn and workshop. Of course, the obvious truth that the work and collection outlives the worker  and collector shouts from every box, basket, pile, and parcel.

The words my sister said earlier in the week, as we were struggling (we all want to defer to the other) to divide up the old quilts, knives, pocket watches, rings, Bibles , etc…keep resounding: “We all know we can’t have what we really want, so this is really hard.” 

Absence is hard. Ezra, who is three, looked at the big laundry basket of toys that I brought home from Dad’s. “But,” he objected. “Doze are Piedaddy’s toys and we need to take dem back to his house, because he needs dem.”

Absence is hard. But the best truth is…absence in our little sphere, of course, means presence in God’s big and eternal one. That reality reminds me of three  important and reassuring things, today.

  1. Reminders of a good life are plentiful and, though they signal absence, they keep on providing good things for those who are still on the journey. A mother’s marked Bible, a good climbing tree, an iron swing set that’s so strong that only the trumpet’s blow will signal it’s end…all of these  keep telling us about a good provider who still, in may ways, does. 
  2. What we “want” is not always really what we want, at all. God is infinitely good and completely cares for his people. Ezra will learn soon enough that Piedaddy does not need anything!
  3. The giver of these left-behind treasures—the humble sharecropper’s son—knew the Giver. He knew the real sense in which all of us are sharecroppers. We are all just “farming Someone else’s land” as we sojourn here.
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting–Part 5

 

The Sting of Death is Humiliation.

While it should be often said that the sting of death is sin (I Corinthians 15:56), that sting hurts in various places in the human heart.  Sometimes a big part of the sting of death is the feeling of humiliation. It should not be this way, of course, but while I am so very thankful for those healthcare professionals upon whom we depend so heavily in times of illness, there are a relatively few  people in the healthcare industry that have yet to prioritize the good of the patient as the number one concern. Again, the majority of those who are caring for a loved one at the hospital are kind, compassionate and truly seeking the optimal good of the sick person, but not all are. Even those who are fully compassionate are often hampered by regulations of the insurance industry or of the hospital or rehab institution.

Like the primary care doctor, who after we’d made several visits to her clinic, could not recall that my father was a patient of hers when she made hospital rounds, and had not had the time, I assume, to check the records. Or the ER doctor we’d never met, who spent a good little while in the hallway of the ER attempting to talk us into stopping any aggressive treatment long before any Christian could conscientiously comply. I felt sorry for nurses who could not bring very necessary medicines to our father when he was at rehab, because they were not stocked in the pharmacy there. We had those medicines from home, right there in the drawer beside his bed, but the staff was bound, by regulation, to forbid us to administer them, even though we’d been administering them for many years. (Yes. Of course we did.) And there were therapists, who because of patient overload and restrictions by health insurance companies, were forced to be more driven by the clock than by the needs of patients.

Then in the final moments of life, it became obvious that the nursing staff had only two protocol choices: a ventilator OR medication to slow and eventually stop the heart. When we opted for neither of those, the nurse whose job it was to come in at the end of life and facilitate the peaceful passage even stated that, in her 14 years at doing “this”, she’d never seen a family who didn’t choose one or the other.  

Of course, it was not very long until our prayers were answered that night and all suffering ceased forever. I will say that I do not believe the “final-moments-nurse” had seen a family singing “Be With Me Lord” as the heart line on the monitor went flat. But that flat line was so much more than a monitor alerting us. It was the coming of angels and the eternal relief of a redeemed soul.  I believe she finally saw that it was so much more, as she looked at us in total wonder when we started that sweet chorus. 

Now, perhaps this is too much information on too difficult a topic. There are times, though, in life when I’m so affected by the words and actions of those around me who are not in the Lord, that I need to remember and reflect. Here are lessons that I learned as some (a very small percentage in the grand scheme) medical “experts” looked at me as if I had no clue about life or death or ethics or even common sense. Somehow, they made it appear humiliating to fight for the life of an aged man. It seemed when he died, on the face of it, humiliating that we had fought so hard for the life we loved and, in the end, lost that battle. But what the experts did not know, is that we won! We were able to walk away from that scenario, knowing that we had done our best every step of the way. We had maintained the standards of ethical integrity all along the journey and then, when the end came, we put His hand in the hand of Jesus without regret. We could pillow our heads and know that the real Expert was in charge now and that we could freely talk to the One who was lovingly overseeing the care of the perfectly mended one; the one we will miss for a short time and the one we will see again where there are no more tough decisions.

Lessons:

  • Sometimes it’s the people who are less clinically qualified who are the best caregivers. Those Physician”s Assistants have sometimes compensated for any letters they may lack on the ends of their names by exhibiting care and compassion. 
  • Those who study the Bible are far more qualified to define and assess ethics about medicine as it relates to life and death than are people of the world, even though the clinically qualified often do not recognize their deficiencies in these areas. Many doctors and nurses are both well-read in scripture and qualified by their secular educations. This situation is optimal. 
  • Medical professionals, apparently, rarely see families who are intimately involved in the decision-making processes of the aged. They surely seemed surprised that we would chart any sort of course on our own. I’m wondering if this typical relative lack of involvement speaks poorly of our nation’s care for its elderly, in general. 
  • It is extremely comforting to know you’ve prayed Romans 8:28 hundreds of times and what is happening in moments of crisis is a part of the “all things” of that passage. 
  • The sanctity of life can be compromised most easily in the pre-born season of life and in hospital rooms of the aged. Sometimes, those who are vocal for life at one end of the spectrum are careless with it on the other end.  
  • A clear conscience, molded by the Word and protected by His wisdom (James 1:5), is a very valuable commodity for His people at the moment of a loved one’s passage. 
  • The doctors are needed and most are compassionate. But the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. 
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting?–Part 4

The Sting of Death Is the Struggle.

Sometimes the last hours before death are intensely difficult. When death follows sickness, the struggle for the faithful— just before the angels come— is often obvious to everyone in the room. When a loved one, due to intubation or shortness of breath or other problems, loses the ability to fully communicate, but looks at caregivers with eyes that plead for some kind of relief, the inability to offer that relief is almost unbearable. Sometimes, as a son or daughter, you are looking at a parent— one who has relieved your own pain, borne your grief, on countless occasions. You would give anything now to ease the struggle as life ebbs away for your loved one, but there is absolutely nothing you can do but pray as the power of life and death does not rest in your hands. 

That’s when you are glad for passages of Holy Writ that are comforting beyond what any mortal can offer. You pray, in those moments, for the “peace that passes understanding”—the peace that can “guard your heart and mind” in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). You remember that neither life nor death (neither of the possibilities at the end of the struggle) can separate those in the room from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38). You remember that, whether this loved one lives or dies, you are still walking in the dark shadow cast by death and that you should fear no evil, for He is with you. There is great comfort in His rod and staff (Psalm 23:1-3). You remember that you may be  approaching a very precious moment because that’s how the death of His saints is characterized. It is “precious” to God (Psalm 116:15). The Word is truly the staff on which you lean in these moments of struggle. 

You also remember that there was One who struggled between life and death for six hours one dark day on a hillside outside of Jerusalem. Surely the desperate look was in His eyes as he bore excruciating pain and suffered unbearable mental anguish. Yet there was no one to come to His aid. His mother looked up into the suffering eyes of her son. The disciple whom he loved looked up and saw the struggle. The Father looked down and, because he knew that the cross was the only path to heaven for me, turned His face away, at least in some sense, from that situation that my sin demanded. He struggled more intensely than anyone in any hospital bed that I will ever know. He struggled so that my  struggle between life and death could be just that—a relatively short, albeit, perhaps painful fight against death; a struggle that ends with eternal victory over death. He, the just One, did the struggle —the suffering—for me, the unjust One. 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.

And because of the empty tomb—the quickening of the Spirit of Christ—the sting of death for the faithful is extremely short and, in fact, is the doorway to victory.

  

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting?–Part 3

The Sting of Death is Pain

Sometimes death comes painlessly. But more often, at some point linked to death by circumstance or time, there is physical pain. The physical pain endured as death comes is transferred to loved ones and caregivers in the form of emotional pain. Legion are those who have been at bedsides and wished they could endure the pain being experienced by one approaching death. I recall being at the bedside of my mother as she neared the end and had, for several days, been uncommunicative; but her body still very obviously writhed in pain. The empowering truth that death is a release for faithful people becomes extremely important in such an hour. In my mother’s case, the cancer had been very slow and painful for several years. This climax of pain near the hour of her parting was a powerful reminder that we do not love everything about our environment here on earth. We love and long for heaven. 

The Bible makes it clear that suffering is the muscle builder of faith. Passages like James 1 and Hebrews 12 make it clear that we are better prepared to do the work of the Lord when we have suffered. If my Savior could learn obedience by the things he suffered (Heb. 5:8)…if the pain aspect of the cross was a completer in the Savior’s qualification to BE the Savior and mediator, then surely the pain of death teaches those in the valley of its shadow today about obedience, too. For certain, I have risen from that valley each time I’ve journeyed through it wanting to be ever submissive to the One who is preparing my home (Jn. 14:1-3). 

It’s interesting that heaven is described always more by what is NOT there than by what is there. Revelation 21:4 is the go-to passage of comfort when we are in the throes of death:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

But it’s interesting that the verse doesn’t just exclude death itself from our picture of heaven. It specifically excludes pain as a “former thing”. One day, we will speak to one another in heaven and we may mention “former things.” But there will not even be pain at the memory of pain. It’s important to remember and take comfort in the fact that, if you said goodbye to a suffering loved one, the release from pain was both complete and permanent. 

I remember a day in the long cancer struggle when my mother became very discouraged about life here on earth.  Through tears, she said “I’m not sure I am doing the right thing to keep taking treatments and keep suffering along here. I think I just want to go on and be with God.” I  was young and perhaps immature as I responded. I recall weeping and gently rebuking her and telling her that we needed her.  I told her that we could hardly stand to hear her talk that way…that the treatments were going to give us good days.  I encouraged her to be strong for the grandchildren who loved her so very much. 

But the truth is, as her pain waxed greater through the progression of disease, so did her faith. Her desire to be in heaven and bring others with her—even her evangelism—shone brightest as she was leaving. She left a Bible study partially done with a nurse on that cancer unit. She asked me, before she left, to complete that partially finished study. Some of her last words were about souls and she spoke freely to us, her children, about always being certain we are living so that the reunion for which she longed will occur. 

We learn obedience in many of life’s situations. But we learn it more completely in death’s situations— the ICU, the Emergency Room, the care of Hospice. We learn it when we lose the ability to swallow or walk or breathe without labor. The lessons begun by the chastisement of our parents with the paddle or switch are sometimes finished in the darkest hours beneath the rod of pain. 

And those of us who are witnesses to that chastisement learn, too. We learn the lessons, too. And we long for heaven.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where Is Your Sting?–Part 2

The Sting of Death Is Dread

This series about death might be the most relevant one on this blog. It is not going to be morbid or unpleasant. In fact, I think it will be filled with hope and I pray it will give his daughters confidence as we anticipate the inevitable. Did you get that? This is the one topic we all need, event we will all encounter, passage we will all make. One hundred percent of us will die. Death is not “If I die”. It’s “when I die.” I know at some point, there will be a comparatively few people who will be alive when he comes and, thus, not make the passage of death. But even those people will make the trip from time to eternity—just in a different vehicle. 

Next, I hope you will not think that I imagine my own experience as my parents left this world, particularly my dad, this fall, is any different or more enlightening to me than your losses have been to you. I am not wiser in reflection and certainly, because of the inevitability of death, his passing is really not any more significant than the passing of any of God’s faithful people. I know all of that and yet, his death is fresh on my mind and the lessons I’m learning from it could be helpful to someone walking that path. 

I’ve always been far too much of a worrier. I remember when I was a little girl, I loved to stay at my grandmother’s house. But I did not like the night time there. My grandmother was in her late sixties and I thought she was ancient. (Imagine that!) So I would go to bed in that back bedroom, but I’d often get up a couple of times before I’d go to sleep, just to “check on her”…to be sure she was breathing. I remember having a talk with her one day about death. I told her I was very worried about my other grandmother who was already in her eighties. “I’m always afraid she is going to die.” 

“Oh, you should never worry about that,” she said. “God is taking care of that, and besides, she may outlive us all.” Those words, obviously, had a profound impact on me and I thought of them often during the care-giving days at Dad’s.

My dad had an off-the-wall sense of humor. He liked to shock/tease people by telling them that abrasions or bumps on his head or his broken wrist were resultant from falling from a helicopter while flying upside down. My nephew believed for many years that his Piedaddy had survived such a fall. Dad also piped up in conversation when anyone would comment on his age or health by saying “I’m gonna die next Tuesday.”

The sad thing about that quip was that it always put the reality of impending death right in front of me. The truth is, for about twenty years I stressed over just how that moment would come or what I’d be doing when I got the call or when the doctor came to some waiting room to tell me. My mother preceded my father in death by twenty-five years. It was shortly after her death that my father, then aged 70 decided to buy the family house—the place where we siblings (as children) had visited my grandmother. 

I thought “What??!…My dad is 70 years old and at this time when most folks his age are down-sizing or buying little condos or townhouses, Dad is buying 20 acres to mow, a pool to maintain and a barn that needs a ton of work, and he plans to live there all by himself?!…” 

But my husband thought it was a great idea. “Cindy, if he just has five happy years there, it’ll be worth it to be back on that beautiful farm just down the highway from his birthplace.” My dad had 25 happy years there. (Just one more reason I should always listen to the wisdom of Glenn Colley.)

During those ensuing years,  I did not always do so well at putting things in the hands of the One who already knew the exact moment of my Dad’s passing. I prayed the words of Romans 8:28 often, but I am not sure I always let them live in my heart. I worried about things I could not control. I worried he might fall in the pool while cleaning it. I worried he might fall in the house and break something and be unable to get up and call us. I worried he might eat food that was too old to eat. I worried he’d be in a wreck. I worried he would cut himself on a power saw. I worried someone would observe he was aged and kind and take financial advantage of him. I worried about mistakes in the dosages of medicines. I just worried. 

I do not know how many of these things actually occurred. I know at least a couple of them did and God blessed us with His family, the church, which was also looking out for Dad, to help us know when and how to intervene. In the final months when care became intensive and then around-the-clock, my worry intensified right along with it. Every time there was chest congestion or a fall or a hospitalization, I would wonder “Will this be the time when His life here is done?” Even in the night, at his house, I would sometimes go and check on him to make sure he was breathing. I would worry about going out to worship in the cold months, though we always did. “Will he get a cough that could develop into pneumonia?”  I would worry about combinations of medicines and look online to see how different ones interacted with others. I was anxious and it made it hard to enjoy all the good moments. In short, I think I was probably far too fixated, for far too long, on his inevitable death. 

Here are some short lessons that I’ve learned, after the fact, about that dread. I knew them already, in theory. But reflecting on the end of a life well-lived has helped me to have a different— a better— perspective about the dread of death that’s a very real part of its sting.

1. Since death is the entranceway to the best and eternal part of my existence, it should be anticipated with joy rather than dread. Though we are to love life on earth and consider it sacred, it’s extension is not always the will of God, nor that which is ultimately best for His children. One of my sisters, Celine, said as much to me when we were in the throes of making last health-care decisions. She was right. From Numbers 23:10, the words of Jehovah through the prophet, Balaam:

    Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, And let my last end be like his!

2. God is in control of life and death. Though He allows his ordered system of nature to prevail,  He is quite the One who knows how to give His people what is best. Romans 8:28 is a great resting place for me as His child when in the valley of death’s shadow. 

   And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

3. Thus, there’s very little I can do to influence when-and-how the death call comes. So why should I spend any of my “stress-quota” worrying about that which I cannot control? That’s the message of Matthew 6: 25-34:

    Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. 

4. The pearl of the above passage, of course, is verse 33. It is THE answer to those of us who struggle with dread and worry. I say this to people all the time. If you are having a tough time conquering worry in your life, get busy in the kingdom. Get busy evangelizing. Every soul you reach will drive out doubt and replace it with hope. Get busy serving needy people. Every one you feed at your table, comfort in sorrow, aid in good pursuits, or rescue from temptation will replace a bit of your despair with confidence in His plans. Get busy worshipping and studying. Every time you ingest the Word and spend time in praise and devotion, you denounce the world of sin and stress and set affections on things above (Colossians 3:2).

   Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.

5. Worry is a sin. There’s a clear difference in being concerned—about sin, suffering,  sickness and any number of maladies—and in worry over that which I cannot control or that which probably will never happen. Concern motivates action. It prompts being awake to opportunities. It makes me pro-active in situations I can affect. Worry over that which is beyond my control dulls my ability to think clearly, inhibits my passion about the positive things I could be doing and takes valuable time from productivity for Him. Those in the know estimate that 40 percent of the things we worry about never happen and another 30 percent are beyond our control. When we look at these numbers, we are forced to admit that worry is a huge waste of valuable time and energy (not to mention health). God knew this long before psychoanalysts began to study it. It’s up to me to trust the Shepherd Whose rod and staff are constantly comforting (Psalm 23:1). 

   The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. 

6. Prayer is the weapon. He has promised to do the “caring” for me. But I cannot turn over the worry without talking to Him. He’s made that very clear in some key prayer passages. Prayer is the closest thing to a miracle that we will experience till the trumpet blows. It is not miraculous, but it is God in heaven listening to me. It is an amazing spiritual phenomenon. Every word of that definition is powerful. God, the Supreme Creator, the One who is the embodiment of wisdom, is the one who listens. He’s in heaven, a far-away place that’s completely distanced from trials and sin. And yet He hears. He listens. He wants me to give him my burdens and He, the One who can do all things, has promised to answer according to His great mercy and wisdom. And all of this is for me—individually. He takes time for my petitions as if they were the only petitions. Faith in the power of prayer is a big part of our faith in the God of miracles. It is the practical tool by which we overcome worry (Phil. 4:6,7; I Peter 5:7).

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

One more thing.That last verse assures me that, if I let him, he will do the nasty business of anxiety for me. But for Him, it is not anxiety. It’s not hard for God. He’s powerful enough, wise enough, loving enough and knowledgeable enough to execute the very best, for me, of every situation. I’m resolving to try and let Him always do the caring for me…in my stead. He’s got this. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Where is Your Sting?

It has come…that quiet moment when everyone has finally left Serenity after lots of noise, many tears and lots of jubilant celebration, too. My father gently passed from this life to an infinitely better one in the early hours of December 5th—29 days ago. Since that moment there’s hardly been another gentle moment, as a memorial service, that ended up being in the midst of a snowy blizzard (that my father would have loved), was planned and executed, albeit with far fewer present to memorialize than we had envisioned. Roads were closed that morning in Jacksonville, Alabama, and metaphorically, lots of roads in my world have remained closed from that day to this one.

The road to reflection has been mostly blocked by the hubbub of cherished family in my house. The road to gratitude has been largely closed because it has so many lanes—so many people I need to profoundly thank—that the job of thankfulness that I love has been overwhelming and has been mostly “on hold.” The path of Bible study and prayer has been a rocky one, too; so many interruptions each time I’ve been in the “kneeling” position before the Word or in petition before Him. Mountains of laundry, cooking, cleaning up messes made by children whose company, hugs and antics I would not trade for anything—all of these have been tasks that have lovingly blockaded more peaceful, but often painful jobs. I’m very thankful for holiday “stress” this year. It somehow masked the pain that, even in the midst of the hurrying, sometimes crept into the recesses of heart and memory. I could easily postpone an aching heart in the ministry to  family and I am thankful for that dulling of the ache. There was very little sleep during the holidays, but I mostly exchanged that for uninterrupted celebration…and that was a good thing. 

But here’s the day of quietness. I am sitting here in this house that’s totally plundered—still littered with baby crumbs, wrapping paper, puppy toys and unfolded laundry, but the quiet is deafening now.  There’s a CPAP machine in the closet that needs to be returned, clothing that’s my dad’s that needs…what does it need, anyway?…throwing out? (That’s for another day.) There are death certificates that must be mailed and there’s a tax form that must be FOUND.  (Why am I always paying a price for being so scattered?) I know now’s the time I’ve anticipated, both fondly and with dread. 

I also know that there is absolutely NO reason for sadness. My father was ninety-five. He was a faithful Christian. He has a new body that never hurts or struggles. He is united with my mother and loved ones. He is, in short, perfected…fit for heaven. His transport was with angels. His destination of complete rest and bliss has been reached. So why should I be sad? I know there are those of you who are reading who would give anything to be in my shoes regarding deceased parents. 

The sadness, of course, is all wrapped up in the human struggle. Death, without the power that is in the resurrection of Jesus, stings (I Corinthians 15:54-57). Death, in a battle against humanity, is always the victor. But, in a battle where Christ is on my side, death is the victim. It is powerless. 

So faith in Him—Bible study, prayer, viewing Him in the circumstances of providence around me, the strength of fellowship—FAITH is what I so desperately need in the shadow of the death of one so loved. And I will persevere to grow in the faith that overcomes the sting that can be masked, but not erased without Jesus, the Victor. 

Until you get your note, thank you to hundreds who have reached out in so many ways. You have sent messages of condolence in email, phone texting and Facebook. You have contributed to the scholarship fund that honors the memory of our mother and dad. You have sent postal cards and letters by the scores (I’m sure there are a couple of hundred in there in my big porcelain bowl.) Children have drawn happy pictures and groups of Diggers have sent cards and even gifts. I am immersed in comforting fellowship and blessed beyond measure. Your prayers have been the greatest of gifts. 

So, in the words of my three-year-old grandson, Ezra, “Why are you sad? We should be happy if Piedaddy is with Jesus. I would like that.” 

Here’s the latest conversation in our Bible time from last Sunday night. 

Me: “Ezra, we are going to Piedaddy’s house tomorrow for our Christmas.”

Hannah: “But you know Piedaddy will not be there.”

Ezra: “Because he is in heaven with Jesus. And that man in the box at Piedaddy’s Bible class was not really Piedaddy. It was just not him.”

Hannah: “Well, it was just a little part of him. The real Piedaddy is with Jesus. And he is not sick  anymore. And he can run and jump and play.”

Ezra: “You mean he does not have to have his walker anymore, even?”

Me: “Right. He can do anything he wants to do and he is very happy.”

Hannah: “And when we get through living here, we will get to go be with him and it will be so happy!”

Ezra: “But how will we get there?”

Me: “Well, one day there will be a very loud trumpet that blows and we will look up and we will see Jesus coming in the clouds and we will get to fly up there and meet him.”

Ezra: “Will we get to go in a helicopter?”

Me: “No, we will get to fly just like a bird with nothing to take us.”

Ezra: “You mean it will be like a super-hero?”

Ben: “Yes, like a super-hero.”

Me: “And we will just fly on to heaven with Him.” 

Ezra: “But I “fink” that loud trumpet will be ‘keery’” (scary).

Hannah: “ Oh no, you will love it. All of us will be there with you and when you get through flying,  everyone you love will all be in the same place.”

Glenn: “Oh no, Ezra. You will not be scared. I promise. You will be so excited to see Jesus. And then when we get to heaven, there will never be anything else to make us sad or hurt us.”

Hannah: “You will never fall and skin your knee. You will never get sick and have a fever.”

Me: “You will never get burned by any stove or fire. You will never cough or cry or hurt at all.”

Ezra: “Well, that will be great, but I still think “dat woud twumpet will be a wittle keery.”