This post has been in my draft box since, long months ago.
I know. You might say I picked a very dreary title for a post. But bear with me.
Some time ago, we had a funeral service for our church Music Director. She suffered from cancer, on and off, for more than fifteen years(!) The funeral service was held at our church, and judging by the reaction of the fellowship, it was very moving – she was a major part of our church and she will be sorely missed.
A few days earlier, another acquaintance was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the lungs. While the family is still hopeful (God does still work miracles), I gather stage 4 cancer is when the doctor says, “Don’t bother looking for treatment.” (I’m not a doctor, so go easy on me when I use medical terminology.)
And just this morning, I found out that another acquaintance had passed away. She had breast cancer, and the treatments have severely affected her liver. When I last visited her, she and her family were still hopeful that treatment would work. It was kind of irritating to hear that her doctor was on vacation while she suffered. I’m not making her doctor out to be a bad guy – doctor’s need vacation to. It’s just difficult to explain things like that to family members who see one of their own suffering. If you don’t believe how difficult it is, I’d like to see you try.
The point of all this? Let me direct your thoughts to God’s grace and man’s miseryy. Ask yourself this the next time you see a coffin. Why are there coffins? They’re there to hold the remains of people who’ve died. Why death?Why do people die? Why suffering?
In a word, sin. All die because “all have sinned.” For the unregenerate, coffins are there to remind you (among other things):
- that you are not in control of your destiny, God is.
- that you can earn all the money in the world, but you’ll still leave this existence empty-handed;
- that dying apart from God’s grace is a case of hopelessness;
- that the most extravagant looking coffin and the most well-attended service won’t alter this one fact: death may be delayed (apparently) but it cannot ultimately conquered by human wisdom and accomplishments.
For the regenerate, coffins are there to remind us the “last stop” before we enter glory. The Christian can say with great conviction, “Someday, my body too will be placed in one of those boxes. I won’t have a choice as to it’s color or gild, or size and shape. I won’t care. Because I will already be with the Lord.
Death (and being in a coffin) is the exclamation point to God’s statement that because we have disobeyed (in Adam), dust we are and to dusth we shall return.