Brother Lloyd is a spiritual man who has things all settled in his spiritual life. He is a member in good standing at TLBC where I am Pastor and Marion and I feel so blessed to have had him stay at our house for the last couple of days. We adjusted the schedule at church last Lord's Day in order to take the Lord's Supper while Brother Lloyd was here. I also allotted some time in our afternoon service for Brother Lloyd to address the congregation before we took the Lord's Supper. audio
Marion and I had a wonderful time of fellowship with Lloyd. Plenty of treats from the German Delicatessen quiet time together. I took him in to my Dentist for an emergency call when one of his crowns came off of a tooth and they were able to get it repaired swiftly. The main reason for coming up to see us was to express his love for the church here in Tacoma and say I love you one more time in case he does not see us again down here on earth. When he gets home to Denver, he will be moving to a ranch in Texas by the end of this month where he will be under palliative care.
Here are some devotional words from Lloyd about death (mentioned in his audio remarks above) as he deals with the topic personally. The God of all comfort has given him a special kind of grace.
Greetings brother Larry!
I have been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. I was told that I have 6-12 months left. For those that have spoken with me, they are all amazed at how well I am taking this. In fact, it is because of something that I know that it is easy to take this in my stride. I am going to share that tidbit. You can send this out if you wish to.
When I was reading in Revelation, a book with an undeserved reputation for being difficult to understand, I came on a verse which I found interesting and which led me to a revelation of its own.
Rev 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
In the previous chapter the great white throne judgment is described. Well, that explains why there are so many tears. I wondered just how God would go about wiping away all tears. It is not just a handkerchief and a wipe. There must be more to it than that. There are so many tears because we will see ourselves as the horrible creatures that we are. If it was just a wipe then, when we were ruminating on this or that, we would remember and the tears would surely return.
So, how do the tears get wiped in a way that they do not return? It would have to be a memory wipe. If our memory of this life is wiped then there would be nothing to bring back the pain and tears.
OK. That is a good theory but verification must be found in some other place in the scripture before we can have the confidence to hang our hats on this one. It turns out that there is just such to be found.
Isa 65:17 “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”
And there it is. What do we make of this notion?
On the subject of sovereign grace it has been said that we have no more to do with our second birth than we did for our first. We remember nothing about our lives from conception to birth and a short time after that. What if this life is our fetal time for the second birth and this is yet another such time where we will not remember? There are things that fit into this notion. To name just one, this is a time in our life where we are fashioned into what we will ultimately be. Our experiences form who we are and what we understand.
As an example, consider our receiving a name from God.
Rev_2:17 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Of course, we can ask ourselves what would happen if we just showed someone the stone or told them the name that they got. Well, that would cause problems with the “no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” part. In this case the key is in the word “knoweth”. This is the kind of intimate understanding that goes to the point of being a part of you. You could say that this is biblical knowing.
What is meant is that it is not us that is getting a new name. Our name will not be changed to “Bob” or any such thing. That is not what this verse is talking about. We are not getting a new name for ourselves. We are getting a new name of God’s!
In the bible, naming a thing involved describing the character of that thing. When Adam was given the task of naming the animals (Gen_2:19 “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”)he was actually functioning as an Anthropologist. In that he was also to till the garden, that means that this and farming were older professions than the “world’s oldest profession”. This means that the name that we are given tells us something about the character of, in this case, God and that it is something that no one else will ever know as we know it. How we get put together in this world will make it so that there is some facet or aspect of God that only we will be able to truly grasp.
So, if this world represents our time in utero, so to speak, then what we call death here is actually the process of being born into the next phase of our lives. This is something that I look forward to and embrace. It is this that makes it so that dying, at least as it is seen from this life’s perspective, an actually attractive event.
Sure, because there are aspects that are unknown there is some of it that is a bit scary but it is easily handled considering the parts that are clear. I do not find my incipient death to be foreboding, dismal or depressing. It is just the passage into the next part. As that part is closer to God, that is enough for me to find comfort in it rather than dread.