When Death Shall Be No More

Claire Wineland is an 18 year old woman who is living with a chronic illness called cystic fibrosis (CF). Claire has a mission, and an admirable one at that. She aims to raise awareness about CF and raise money to help families affected by this disease.

If you keep up with current events, charities, or have been on Facebook recently you may be familiar with her message.

(here is a link to one of her vlogs if you’re not)

She has been fighting for her life since she was 16. She’s living her life with an incurable disease, but is making the most of what she’s been given.

She’s living an amazing legacy and has accomplished more in her first 18 years of life than many of us ever will. I admire her efforts to normalize death and ultimately teach coping mechanisms, but I want to take the opportunity to present a greater message.

The Normalcy of Death and Coping with Loss

Death is not a normal thing.

Despite our best efforts to live a longer, healthier, or even more *organic* life, death still happens. And it still feels odd.

On this side of Heaven, we must experience and learn to cope with death. It’s heart breaking when you lose someone you love and causes us to feel grief. When faced with death and our own mortality we are left with the decision to either give into despair or be propelled into hope.

Death is hard because I’m not sure if it was part of Gods original blueprint for Humanity. If that’s the case, then there’s a reason it feels so incredibly unnatural.

I’m not enough of a theologian to know if that last statement is definitively true or not. But I like to dream, and in my imaginative/uber nerd mind I see His original plan for death being a little like a scene from Lord of the Rings. I like to imagine that you would reach an age where you would board a boat that “retired” you to a place like Valinor…but we’ll leave that idea to my crazy imagination 🙂

(please keep reading if I just lost you on that one…lol)

No matter what passing into Eternity would have looked like before the fall, we must face the fact that in the here and now, it’s difficult. Much like our friend Claire, there are healthy ways we can help each other understand death and cope with it, but I long for the day that death shall be no more.

Live it Well:

This begs the question: In the here and now, with death being inevitable, how will you choose to live your life? Chances are you don’t have a disease that has limited your life span. Chances are that you have a long life ahead of you that will be filled with many blessings and a life that I hope will be lived of love.

Do not be afraid of death.
Death will be conquered.
Do not be afraid of that last breath.
While you are here, live of love.
Live as if every breath might be your last.
No one is promised tomorrow.
Only today,
and not even the rest of today.
We are only promised the PRESENT.

Live selflessly.

Live well.

Live each day like your legacy depends on it.

In His grand plan of redemption, death is put to death and will be no more when he comes to make all things new.

Though death is inevitable, so is its defeat.

Our Conquering King will return.

He will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Death will be no more.

There will be no more mourning.

No crying.

No pain.

And behold,

He will make all things new.

I’m thankful for the message Claire is bringing. One that teaches us to cope with the inevitable. I feel that it’s a message that speaks hope into our fallen world. I’m not sure if she has a Christian worldview or not, but her approach to what we will inevitably face one day is a message of hope.

Claire, I doubt we will ever meet, but thank you for changing the world. Thank you for being a living example of what it means to make the most of life. Thank you for living selflessly and changing the lives of countless individuals.
May God bless you richly for your work.

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For Freedom.

For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
-Gal. 5:1

No amount of self hate, regret, past mistakes, condemnation, guilt, or shame can take away our freedom. There is NO ulterior motif to the freedom that Christ has given us. Standing firm in the promise of His word will extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,“Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15

When I am tempted to despair over the man I was and the people I hurt, these promises ring true. God gave us a spirit of adoption. He set us free and we can stand firm in that freedom. The very offense that brought you to the cross has been redeemed and forgiven. And shame, sorrow, and past regrets are lifted.

Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.
For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
Isaiah 64:4,5

And there is NO CONDEMNATION IN HIM. He looks upon us and says
“Who stands to accuse you? Go and sin no more.”


Father,

Continue to wreck me with this truth. You are the true artist, and you have interwoven me into a story you have been writing since Creation. Thank you for your redemption. Thank you for your perfect love that casts out fear. Thank you for the freedom that is found in  your forgiveness.

YOU PAID THE PRICE. NOW I AM FINALLY FREE.

The Art of Celebration

Blame.
Shame.
Fear.
Guilt.
Condemnation.

They do not define you.
They do not control you.
They are not your identity.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:28-30

Those are the words of Jesus.

Reject shame.
Reject fear.
Reject guilt.
Reject Condemnation.

you are free. you are free. you are free.

JESUS IS YOUR IDENTITY. CLING TO HIM. PRESS HARD INTO JESUS.

never forget…

“…we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
-Hebrews 4:14-16

That is our Jesus.
Hold Fast.
He knows.
He sympathizes.
Be confident.
Draw near to Jesus.
He will give you Mercy and Grace and rest for your soul.

“This is the art of celebration, Knowing we are free from Condemnation. O, praise the one, praise the one, who made an end to all my sin.”

Come As You Are

Despondent Christian, Come.
Brokenhearted, Come.
Merciless, Come.
Hopeless, Come.
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t cure.

Come to Jesus. Come as you are. He will take your shame. He will take your years of restless wandering. He will take your doubts. No one is asking you to be perfect. Just come.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Handyman Special

handyman special

I dabble in carpentry.
Sometimes I end up with a sturdy, beautiful, new piece of furniture.
Sometimes I end up with a pile of chopped up wood.
But I digress!

In carpentry and most other “maker” activities, there is an end vision for your product. You are taking a stack of wood, a canvas/paint, clay, scrap metal, glass, or whatever and turning it into something useful and beautiful for others to enjoy and use.

When you look at a half finished project you get one of two senses:
1. This is incredible! I can’t wait for my finished product!
2. This is CRAP! I measured wrong, nothing is square, I hate it!

How does this relate to despondency?

In the middle of a trial it’s easy to look back and say one of the two things listed above.
I’m reading a great book with a friend right now called “How People Change” (Highest recommendation) In the third chapter the author has a section entitled “Seeing with the Eyes of Christ”. It’s a story about a house labeled as a handyman special. One potential buyer may see this house and become overwhelmed by what it would take to restore the house. He drives away sad. Too much work, not enough hope.
Another buyer sees the same house and with great excitement he looks AHEAD to what it will be when it is fully restored.
Did both buyers look at the same house?
Yes.
But only one buyer has the courage to believe he can do what is necessary to make it a new reality.

Do I possess the courage to look in the middle of my wrecked up life knowing that Jesus is going to make all things new? Knowing that HE doesn’t start something without bringing it to completion? (Philippians 1:6) Having abundant faith knowing that HE is the Good Shepherd that cares for the one lost sheep enough to pursue him? (Luke 15)
Or do I become a coward and wallow in self pity, not relying on the Future Grace that God is so ready to give?

Our lives are “handyman specials.” And Jesus is a Carpenter ready to repair us. He see’s the future joy of a job well done. He doesn’t see the mess, but rather the NEW CREATION that is hidden on high!

Have confidence.
Look at yourself through the eyes of Christ.
Fight Despondency.
You are new.
You are forgiven.
There is present grace
There is FUTURE GRACE.
He sees the final product and it brings Him great Joy.
He is making you new.