|Posted on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 5:57 pm: || |
After reading the Bacchiocchi bit, I thought we needed some fresh air.
I had a most interesting experience this week on Tuesday. I was with a friend as her mother died (honest, this is good stuff!). Her mom was 90 years old, bed ridden, and ready to leave this world. I'd gone to the nursing home with dread for what was to happen, yet wanting to be there for the friend.
I watched for an hour as my friend stroked her mother's hair telling her, "go on mama...go on to Jesus...don't turn back...it's okay, just step into His arms." Fully expected to be crushed just from watching this. But instead I came away blessed!
As I stood there, I couldn't help but think of the SDA's who would reach this point scared to death to let their mama go. What if she had unconfessed sin!
Yet here was a woman who could tenderly encourage her mom to let go, even tho she knew that her mom only had the barest of grasp of salvation.
Rosemary knew she could trust her Lord would accept her mom just as the Father did the prodigal "as he turned" to start home. Not as a fully formed, no sin left follower, but as one who only took the first faltering step or two of faith. And my friend was able to do it because she had a confident assurance in knowing the God she served was a God of complete justice and overwhelming love.
Of course there was sadness at her loss. But it was a picture of incredible peace. A picture of a child of God truly resting in Jesus goodness.
The other thing that struck me so forcefully as I watched was the reality that we are spirit beings. Far more than just flesh and blood. And our spirit is far more than "the breath of life" as the SDA's said. Here a woman lay dying, unable to communicate with those who loved her. But still able to hold spirit conversation with the Father who loved her. Amazing.
How foolish to think He would spend every moment with us, promising never to leave us, never to forsake us, then be willing to cut off communication with us at our death. That would be like Rosemary sitting there until mama was ready to die, then walking away, you know?
|Posted on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 8:25 pm: || |
Great experience! Excellent, Biblical theology! It is most comforting to know that Jesus will never leave nor forsake us--not even in death. When we choose Christ, we choose eternal life. Nothing can separate us from our Savior. How could we ever have believed otherwise? I frequently thank God for calling me out of Adventism. Although it took me over forty years to leave, I consider it a miracle of love and grace. God always has the perfect timing in leading us to Him. Our Lord Jesus is so patient and long-suffering with us. Indeed, He is awesome!
Dennis J. Fischer
|Posted on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:09 am: || |
Lydell wrote "As I stood there, I couldn't help but think of the SDA's who would reach this point scared to death to let their mama go. What if she had unconfessed sin!" I can tell you exactly what at least one SDA would think.
Yesterday the doctor called my uncles family together and told them that their son would probably pass away that day. They should know that he could hold on as long as a week, but that it was inevitable now and that they should be prepared. His family are all devoted Christians but SDA to the core. Their dying son has a questionable past, but has accepted Christ as his savior within the last few weeks.
When my mother called me to tell me that he would probably be gone soon, she told me again that he had accepted Christ. She said that many people were praying for healing and not to loose hope since Christ could still choose to intervene. What she said next struck me deeply as such a sad and painful view of death. She told me that he had lived a 'wild' life in the past, and maybe by taking him now, God in his infinite wisdom knew what he was doing, because what if he was healed and he went back to his ways. Maybe it is better that he die now in Christ and not later when he begins sinning again. She wasn't being cruel and had no malice in her words whatsoever. She was being sincere in her belief that this may be the only way to ensure he would be in Heaven.
It struck me that I've lived a 'wild' past, and one day if the situation were reversed, I'd hope that Christ would somehow intervene to let her know that salvation is assured and she can be confident that he will keep his promises. She is a flawed sinner just as I am and if she is unsure of my salvation after watching the changes Christ has made in my life, I'm sure that she is unsure of her own.
I have begun praying that somehow (I honestly don't see how, but I know nothing is above Christ) both of my parents will come to realize the amazing grace God bestowed upon us by providing the assurance of salvation. I pray daily that God will intervene to remove the blinders of legalism and free them as he has freed me.
|Posted on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 11:33 am: || |
Your story brought such painful memories of my mom's death. About six weeks before her passing, the SDA's had an annointing for her. Three ministers preformed the most pethetic service I've ever witnessed. During the service and after, my mom set wringing her hands and stating that she "hoped that I've asked for forgiveness of all my sins." THREE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS, sat there and NONE of them told her of the assurance she had in Him. I sat with my mom on her final day and she STILL had the same attitude. Literally wringing her hands and repeating "I just hope I'm ready". I assured her with the words of Jesus and the statement of John in his first letter. The sad thing is that I, as a "backslider" could offer her no hope, even though I read the words directly from the Bible! Had I been an SDA minister, the same words would have made such a difference. What a horrible responisibility they bare to their dieing flock!
I know my mom died in Jesus. She simply died without the peace and joy that were rightfully hers, unlike this dear saint who had "only the barest grasp of salvation".
These are memories that have haunted me for the last almost four years since my mom's homecoming. I grieve for those remaining in Adventism. They cling to such a heavy weight, when they could be rejoicing on the living rock!
Isn't Grace wonderful!
In His Grip
|Posted on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 5:26 pm: || |
In a way Thomas, I think your mom walked into the same situation my friend's mom did. Each of them are now experiencing a love they never imagined.
My friend had kept encouraging her mom to go ahead and step into Jesus' arms. Rosemary observed afterwards that her mom had only known the love of she and her sibling, and so was likely hesitant to let go of that love to reach out, even when Christ was standing there with open arms. While she firmly believes her mother had accepted Christ, there had been no walk with the Lord as we are all experiencing now (that's what I mean by the barest grasp...she understood so very very little!). Her mother hadn't had the time to really get to know God's love in an intimate way.
Thomas I know that memory must be very painful for you. But it is something you cannot change. Although you didn't have a grasp on the words yourself at the time, I have to think the Lord WAS using you, was trying to speak directly to her, through you, when you were reading His words to her. So you did do what you could at the time to offer comfort.
The first step to getting over such a tough experience is to make a consious choice to let go so that God can heal. You are doing what you can now in trying to get the message across to those who are still SDA (...you do know they are lurking here!) to try to keep them from the same horrible experience.
I have to believe He has already used that experience you went thru to begin to stir your heart with compassion for those who are still caught in the lie. And there are those outside the walls of Adventism that also don't have a grasp on assurance of salvation and the forgiveness of God. So many still somehow see themselves as the worst of sinners and will need your reassurance and those same scriptures that you shared with your mom.
Really, each of you who still has SDA family are continually being used by God to chip away at the wall that's up around their thinking. Every time you speak to them of your delight, of the good things the Lord is doing in your life, you take another whack at that wall.
Thomas, try for a moment to imagine what it must have been like, what a glorious freedom your mother felt just a moment after her death to literally be in the presence of God and hearing tender words of love from Him! How her heart must have melted at the first touch of that love! Try to imagine with what delight she is going to tell that part of the story to you when next you see her.
|Posted on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:09 pm: || |
Yes, I have imagined that, and it has brought such joy. Sometimes I even laugh to think what she must have thought, that first moment, when she realized what was happening and where she was! I know my mom died in Jesus. My biggest regret was that she couldn't have had the joy and peace that He so freely gives, while she was still on this earth.
I grieve so for all those still caught in the bondage of legalistic religion, when all that is necessary is FAITH accepting the complete gift that only GRACE gives!
Always in His grip!