“Well, the party is over,” she pronounced, “might as well go home.” At a loss for words, I simply nodded my head, wondering what could cause such a dour outlook on life. A peculiar woman, at times I thought she might be a bit schizophrenic. Nonetheless, even from her, it seemed an odd thing to say after a neighbor’s funeral.
Perhaps, to her, funeral services are a frivolous waste. Just put them in the ground and be done with it. None of this pie in the sky talk like the priest’s. “A celebration,” he’d called it. “Of going on into the eternal part of life.”
I could only assume she didn’t see it that way. “Death, a celebration?” I could almost hear her harrumphing. “Well, that was one party she could do without, thank you!”
“But, death can really be a celebration,” I longed to shout. “Why don’t you want to listen?”
But to her they were just words. Words the priest has to say. After all, he reads them out of the book the Church gave him for such occasions. Just platitudes, really. Empty phrases that don’t mean a thing. Yet, we’ve shared our faith with her. We’ve told her there is hope after the grave. It’s not that she doesn’t know. She just chooses to not believe.
“Is faith really that hard?” I wondered.
For to me, it’s such a simple, childlike delight. After walking with the Lord so many years, I can’t even begin to imagine not believing. And then it hit me. Perhaps at times I forget that it’s a work of the Holy Spirit. It’s really not something I do. But something he does in me, or rather enables me to do. A gift.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast, Ephesians 2:8-9.
So yes, faith really is that hard. Without God working in our hearts it’s actually impossible.
And that’s what we need to keep praying over these people we serve. Sure, we’ll continue to share, and reach out with love. But even more to pray, “Lord work in their hearts so that they may believe. Give them the gift of faith. And let them see that death can become a celebration!”
And while we’re at it, we’ll be thanking him that he gave us this gift! It really is something to celebrate!!
When was the last time you thanked the Lord for this marvelous gift?
Are you praying that others receive it?
[Image of people in church ©TheScorziellos-Sheila]