Those of us who love to travel to refresh and regain perspective often prefer either the beach or the mountains even though we may enjoy both. My husband and I have enjoyed both, but we are drawn more to the mountains. We especially love the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada and have traveled there often in our vacation adventures.
These mountains and the trails we have walked remind us of the greatness of God and “the rock” that He is for us to stand on and build our own faith and life upon.
One of the delights of my heart as we travel in the mountains is discovering in the midst of all the rocky crags, glaciers, and forests, God tucks little pieces of color here and there through various flowers that reminds me again and again that from the beginning God speaks life! With the exception of humankind whom He handcrafted from the earth; He spoke every other thing into existence.
He spoke those wondrous mountains into existence, and He spoke the crashing waves upon the seas as well. The stars, sun, and moon above us were created with just a word from Him. Each delicate creature, plant, and organism came when He spoke life!
Death came upon the earth through evil that came in the garden when Lucifer sought to change the course of man and oppose all life.
When one of our grandsons noted recently that in 2020 it seems as if death is chasing us, it provoked more than a little thought. There is a battle going on, an unseen battle as real as any war fought by mankind. It is a battle between good and evil, light and darkness waged against God and all of his creation by Lucifer and his minions.
I love Eugene Peterson’s description of this truth:
“There is a spiritual war in progress, an all-out moral battle. There is evil and cruelty, brutality and pain. God is in continuous and energetic battle against all of it. God is for life and against death. God is for love and against hate. God is for hope and against despair. God is for heaven and against hell. There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square foot of space is contested.”From Run With the Horses by Eugene Peterson
That may sound grim and indeed is sobering, but for those who understand and know the grand story we are each a part of it is key to remember that if we have accepted Him and responded to his election of us, we are imbued with life.
Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
As I write this our family is saddened by someone we loved who has walked through death and the body we knew is no longer here, but he is more alive than he has ever been. The essence of this dear friend, his spirit and soul that we cannot see, lives on. Those of us who loved him miss him, but we know this was not really the end.
Some years ago, someone came to my counseling office to process her terminal illness and what she knew lay ahead. Linda invited me into her very private thoughts and feelings as a believer who knew what the months ahead would mean. It was a gift I treasure.
She introduced me to a book by Max Lucado entitled Tell Me the Secrets filled with short chapters focusing on powerful truths written so we could see through story and metaphor more of the rich meaning within them. The last chapter is entitled “The Secret of Life” and Max Lucado sets the stage by having an older man facing death and trying to explain life and death to a group of children for whom he was a mentor and friend.
Look at the words of dialogue penned by Max Lucado that the man’s wife speaks to the children after her husband has passed from this life:
“I can’t believe he’s dead, Melva.” Landon began to cry.
“Oh, Landon, he isn’t dead. He is alive. He is more alive than he has ever been. He’s just not here.”From Max Lucado in Tell Me the Secrets
At the end of the chapter is a note from the artist, Ron DiCianni, whose artwork is a highlight at the opening of each chapter. His words add to the truths noted above:
“Probably no topic is avoided more than death. It looms as the final enemy. But on the cross Christ defeated death and Satan. And because of His victory, death for the Christian becomes merely a doorway into eternal life.
If we could see through God’s eyes, we would see wonderful things He has in store for us in Heaven – mansions, streets of gold, the Tree of Life, the presence of Jesus!
And Jesus is preparing a place just for you (as well as for your friends, if you invite them). A perfect place, tailor-made, more beautiful than anything you could imagine.”From Ron DiCianni in Tell Me the Secrets
God speaks life! Into humankind, He breathed life!
“God is the center from which all life develops.”From Run with the Horses by Eugene Peterson