When a person loses a loved one, they tend to have a preoccupation with death. This is normal grief. It is not a morbid preoccupation, but rather a thirst, if you will, concerning death.
I do not fear death ... not even a little. I want to live until the Lord sees my work here is done, but I have a longing I did not have prior to 11 months ago. This is normal to any parent having lost a child. The more parents I talk with, the more I see how very normal it is.
This morning has been odd in the sense that everywhere I turn in my devotional is another devotional on death. Again, not morbid preoccupation with the dying process, but rather victory that overcomes the death of a loved one. You see, death has no power over a Christian.
"Christ destroyed death. Physical death is a mere transition from life on earth with Christ to eternal life in heaven with Christ." - Billy Graham
Most of us have learned the 23 Psalm. It speaks of the shadow of death. Dr. Donal Grey Barnhouse was a prince among American Presbyterian clergymen. Graham knew him well. His first wife had died from cancer while still in her 30s. At the time, all three of his children were younger than 12. He had such victory that he decided to preach the funeral himself.
I understand this "grace" he experienced, as God gave me the grace to speak at my daughter's funeral as well. Nothing in me could have done this, and I felt faint as I arose to do it. Whispering a prayer, I received strength that could only have come from God. Dr. Barnhouse was traveling to his wife's funeral with all three of his children in the car. En route to the funeral, a large truck passed them and cast a large shadow over their car. He asked one of his children, "Would you rather be run over by the truck or its shadow?"
"By the shadow, of course," replied the 12-year-old daughter. "A shadow can't hurt you."
With that answer, Dr. Barnhouse said to his three motherless little children, "Your mother has been overrun not by death, but by the shadow of death." At the funeral he spoke on Psalm 23: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me" (Vs. 4)
Graham concludes: "Nothing can harm us, including death, when we have trusted Christ as Savior because Christ has conquered death - so shall we."
(Kimberly Morgan, MA, is a wife and mom in Elkins. She is also a counselor, specializing in grief and loss, at Cornerstone Christian Counseling at 300 Railroad Ave., suite 304, Elkins. Contact her at 304-637-1109.)