Mimi and her trademark smile.

Last October 24, 2011 a very dear friend, Mimi, passed away.  Her death was quite sudden.  None of us – her friends and family – was prepared for her sudden demise.  Mimi was a jolly person even in the midst of trying situations.   I could not recall a dull moment in her company.  We could talk on and on without noticing how the hours shifted.  She always had all kinds of stories in her pocket, so to speak.  She could brighten up a room single-handed with her witty remarks.  And yes, she never failed to make any crowd roar with laughter.  But over and above her wit and sense of humor, this woman was a jewel of a friend.  She was a loyal, honest and thoughtful friend.  Her friendship was both a blessing and a privilege.

Seeing this friend’s lifeless body that day pierced my heart.  It was a sight I never thought I would witness.  I sobbed and groaned and hoped she would wake up.  Several times I asked the Lord why Mimi had to go so soon.  The pastor in Mimi’s church offered this simple answer “It was Mimi’s time.”

I have seen death several times.  A few times I had witnessed how life was slowly snuffed out from a person.  I have gone to funerals of people I love and of those I hardly knew.   Death is not an uncharted phenomenon.  We accept with certitude that the moment life is conceived, death is inevitable, only the time and circumstance remain unforeseeable.  Despite this however, losing a love one to death is still a painful and difficult experience.   No amount of preparation can make one “pain proof.”  While life is always celebrated, death is often seen as a loss.  Hence, people mourn for the passing of a loved one.   Albeit death is not a mystery, that which follows it remains an object of curiosity for many.   This is why people of different beliefs try all kinds of concoctions,  listen to a plethora of opinions and speculations about life after death to understand what lies beyond.  Unfortunately however, most tend to obfuscate rather than illuminate.  When our minds try to grasp things that are beyond our league we end up more confused than enlightened.

The best way to understand life or death and what lies beyond is to look at it from the view of the Author of Life  himself.  Isaiah 44:24 gives us an obvious clue.  He has made known the mysteries surrounding life from the very beginning.  God had already laid down his plans and thoughts on the pages of Scripture.   As early as Creation, the Bible shows us,  God did not only exhibit His might and creativity, but also His very intention for creating us humans.  Creation was not complete without the man and the woman.  It was only after   Adam and Eve were formed that God looked at everything He made and said “It was very good.”[1]   God was so satisfied with everything that He saw.  All was perfect, and so were Adam and Eve.  Then  He gave them the authority to rule over all that He had made, the beasts and vegetation. [2] And let me emphasize, it was to them alone that the command and authority to subdue were given.   

Clearly God wanted humans to enjoy life.  Pollutions, diseases, famine, even DEATH were never part of creation.  Adam and Eve could eat all the freshest fruits, vegetables without any pesticides or herbicides or cyanide.  Life was abundant.   Everything they needed was right before them.  There was no need to toil to be able to eat.   They could eat all they wanted straight from the trees except for one, the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.[3]  There was another tree in Eden that Adam and Eve could have enjoyed, the fruit of the Tree of Life.  But they chose to disobey.  Their disobedience radically changed the state of things in the Garden of Eden.  Death found its way into the lives of all living creatures on earth.  To the first humans, physical and spiritual death came about as the consequence of sin.

Unlike the animals, we humans were distinctly created.  We were fashioned after the image of our creator.  That is, He breathed LIFE into us, and gave us spirit to allow us to commune with Him.  After the fall, our spirit died, our soul and flesh dominated our being. [4]  Our relationship with God was severed, that is, “our spirit lost its sensitivity to God.”[5]  As Nee wrote, “Death of the spirit is the cessation of its communication with God.”[6] The only way to restore the relationship was the supreme sacrifice, the death of Jesus on the cross more than two thousand years ago.  Despite all our rebelliousness, God could not just look at us from a distance.  He could not bear seeing us strut ourselves to eternal damnation.  He sent Jesus Christ to bear our iniquities and restore us,  to be able to enjoy again that intimate relationship with Him before sin stepped into the picture.    The death of Jesus Christ on the cross served as our ransom.   It was the only way for us to have LIFE again.[7] Jesus is the only way out of the mess.  Life is what God gave us.  It was a privileged one.  Jesus came to destroy death’s hold on us. [8] When He emerged three days after His sacrifice on the cross, death no longer has power over those who chose to accept Him as their Savior.

Physical death is not the end.  Some choose to believe in the law of the Karma or reincarnation.  But for those in  Christ, physical death simply means a transition to another state of being, from mortality to immortality.[9]  The life we live now is not the only one neither is death the end of us.  The life we now have is but temporal, we must transition to the eternal.  That which follows our physical death is more important.[10]  But where we want to spend eternity is a decision each of has to make now, while still in this life.    Afterward, nothing and no one can reverse the consequence of that decision.

Undoubtedly, Mimi, like the rest of us, had made so many decisions in this life.  Some of those brought her pain, while others made her smile.  But the wisest she made was to offer her life to the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am sure, heaven rejoiced with the homecoming of one of its children.

[1] Genesis 1:31

[2] Genesis 1:28-29

[3] Genesis 2:16 & 3:22

[4] Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., 1977) , 54.

[5] Ibid., 50.

[6] Ibid

[7] Matthew 20:28, John 3:16, John 10:10, Isaiah 53:13

[8] Isaiah 25:8 & Hosea 13:14

[9] 2Corinthians 15:53-54

[10] 1 Corinthians 15:36


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